A few months ago, on a whim, I looked up the 3-Day Novel Contest.
It was something I had heard of a long time ago, looked at briefly, and then decided that was a bit too short a time frame. However, since hearing about it that first time, I’ve done quite a few NaNos, some of them in much shorter than a month, and while looking for a new challenge, I remembered the one for a novel in three days.
When I reached the site, I found I’d missed the Early-bird Registration by only a few days, and was disappointed. I considered just giving it a pass this year as a result of poor timing, and then I saw on their Twitter stream that they’d extended the deadline and I hadn’t missed it after all. That, I decided, was a sign I should join up this year for certain. So I did.
It starts tomorrow. Or, more like in fifteen minutes now, because I left this blog post very later.
I have actually outlined a project for a change. I have arranged food for the weekend and stocked snacks. I have made certain I will not be disturbed, and I am going to throw myself into writing and pretty much nothing else for the next three days.
I participate in NaNoWriMo every year, and one of the side effects of that is trying out the products from their various sponsors. I’ve had more than a few successes over the years, finding things like Scrivener that I love and can’t imagine working without. Others are just fun.
This year, one of the ones I tried out for the first time is the site 4thewords. I think they were a sponsor last year as well, but the early reports indicated they were having a very rough Beta, and I decided to give them a little more time the get their feet under them. Things seemed more stable this year, and their walk-through video once again convinced me this was something I’d find fun, so I decided to give them a chance.
It’s gamification for writing. Combining two things I love, so of course I had to try it out.
The first thing I’d say is that the updates they’ve rolled out this month are fantastic, and were sorely needed. The difference in the user experience even between now and when I started on November 2nd is enough that it was the difference between my continuing with the site after NaNo and not. If the writing interface had stayed the way it was when I started, I wouldn’t have remained with it, and may have even ditched it before NaNo was over. Given the updates, however, it’s a functional WYSIWIG, with the ability to create multiple files and organize them into projects, and something I can see myself continuing to use. It’s not a full-fledged word processor, but I have Scrivener for that, and this is an excellent way to get words on the page.