Nick Bryan Dot Com

Turning Writing Into A Game – When Do I Win?

I will settle for the kettle.If you enjoy the nausea-inducing November writing challenge of NaNoWriMo, maybe you’ve found yourself wanting to find other ways to turn writing into a game. Myself and a friend, both living in the Nunhead region of London at the time, once attempted a second 50k writing challenge in the month of March, under the name “NunheadWriMo”.

You may laugh, but it kinda works with the abbreviation. Without a forum to motivate us, we pushed each other by exchanging trash talk on MSN. For those of you without a kindhearted friend to hurl verbal abuse, though, how can you keep “winning” at writing?

Well, if a daily target and willpower aren’t enough, here are some other incentive schemes.

Camp NaNoWriMo – If It Ain’t Broke, Start It Up Again

Sensing an appetite for NonNovNaNo, the NaNoWriMo people have started Camp NaNoWriMo, where you can link up with other like-minded people to support each other through a 50k push outside of November.

There’s also some hut-based system that I don’t really understand, because they love that camping metaphor. Hopefully next feature is a campfire to burn unwanted writing. But anyway, 1667 a day is quite a lot, so let’s check out less masochistic targets. – When 500 Is Too Little, But 1000 Is Too Much

The idea here is that you do 750 words a day, come rain or shine, and the website at keeps track of them for you. This is based on a similar exercise called “Morning Pages” where you churn out a few pages of typing every morning, simply to get the writing muscles working.

So your 750 words could be journal dream-writey stuff, or they could be the mid-length building blocks of your novel. Personally, I have to do a thousand a day before I can relax, but 750 is pleasantly unintimidating, I can see the appeal.

Word Count Game – I Can’t Help It, I Have To Beat My Friends

If you want both the doable word counts of 750words and the satisfying friend-killing of NaNo, I’ve recently started playing a word count game with my writing accomplices Alastair and Claire. The aim here is to reward consistency as much as word counts –do at least 250 words a day, and you get daily points for your unbroken run of productive days (1 on your first day, 2 on your second, etc), plus points each day for words written (250 words = 1 points, 500 words = 2 points, 1000 words = 3 points, 2000 words = 4 points).

So producing intermittent huge amounts actually gets you less points than building up a long chain of days. It’s an interesting game, and 250 is definitely an achievable amount – it’s pretty small, in fact - I have to stop myself from clocking out after doing it. Still, this is the method I’m currently using to make myself write – the prospect of “beating” my two friends. (Currently boosting my points for said game by writing about it, and winning by 12 points as of this post, so feeling good.)

If you want to join this game, there's a spreadsheet obtainable here. We've made our own copy and shared it between the three of us, rather than joining the communal pile-on. You may wish to do the same with your friends.

Has turning your writing into a game worked for you? Is there another scheme that has proven useful? Or does this kinda stuff cheapen the artform somehow? Thoughts welcome.


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