Why is it easier for me to write more consistently during NaNoWriMo than any other time of the year? This is a question I ask myself very frequently.
There are a few answers. Community, for one. Tradition, since I’ve been doing this crazy thing for six years now. Deadline. Challenge. And one of the most important ones–visual gratification.
I mean, who doesn’t love the NaNoWriMo graphs? Who doesn’t like seeing that bar rise and rise until the end of the month when you finally hit the goal? It’s extremely gratifying!
I recently joined 10 Minute Novelists, a Facebook group for writers, who have something called the 365k Club: a challenge to write daily in 2016. (You can write 1k a day, as the club title suggests, or go for something less ambitious like 600 or 200 words.) I decided to take the challenge, but I knew that I would need some motivating help.
That’s when I started looking up progress trackers a la NaNo. So far there are three main contenders that I’ll be trying out for the next few weeks…
1. WriterStats’ Nuwa
Nuwa is one part of a three-part team, according to WriterStat.com. The other two parts involve planning and writing books, but I just got a Scrivener trial so I’ll be leaving those alone. At first glance, Nuwa is a NaNo clone.
There are settings to change color and you can have multiple projects, which in turn have multiple possible settings for duration, word goal, etc.
You update just like you do for NaNoWriMo and you can even edit wordcount by day if that’s your thing. Very simple, very clean. I can see myself using this one quite a bit.
4thewords.com came out in beta somewhere around the end of NaNoWriMo 2014. I know because I’ve been using the beta version on and off since then. The site recently got a major update, which has me poking around at its features again.
Unlike WriterStat, 4thewords expects you to type directly into its text editor. In fact, most of its features are dependent on you doing this.
Nowadays the editor sports tags and the ability to integrate files into Projects. The editor has a timer and a word counter right in the browser, and if you hit the daily word goal (444 – surprised?) there’s a cute little confetti animation that rains down on your screen.
Timeline view lets you see details on how you’ve written each day.
Going to the “quest” page unlocks an entirely unique feature of 4thewords: it is set up like a video game.
To reward you for meeting your word goal consecutively, you can get coins, gems, experience, etc. and ‘level up’.
The really cool part, though, is that you can battle with virtual monsters by writing.
You can win experience and rewards from these critters by typing a certain amount of words in a certain amount of time.
Basically, this site is a really adorable, RPG-imitating way to motivate yourself to write your words every day. Definitely worth trying out.
Unlike the first two things on this list, Writeometer is an app, not a website. At the moment I think it’s only available for Android. (Sorry, Apple users.)
It is designed very nicely, in my opinion. You can add different projects, change the word goal/duration/etc., and even set reminders for yourself to write.
Writeometer also allows you to set an in-app timer to time yourself while you write. If you write a certain number of words, you receive a “guava,” which, while useless in the app, functions as an interesting leisure currency (i.e., spend 2 guavas to check Facebook). It’s an interesting little rewards system. And, of course, it features a long-term progress tracker.
A very well-designed app with a lot of cool features. Plus, if it’s on your phone, you don’t need to have the Internet pulled up while you’re writing–always a plus.
I’ll be playing around with these three and probably some more in the coming weeks as I prepare for 2016 which, I hope, will be a wonderful year of writing for me. My initial instinct is favoring Writeometer, but we will see.
What are your favorite writing progress apps?