Friday, July 12, 2013

The Gamification of Writing

There are very few things I want more in this world than to be a writer. Perhaps more accurately I want to have written. The actual part of the process where I sit and type on a keyboard is intermittently fun, but I'm fairly ambivalent about that part compared to how much I want to have something to send to all the teachers, mentors, and professors that expect I will be an author-type. That is something I want passionately, but whenever it comes time to actually sit and write something I find myself much more excited about doing something else. I think the problem is that I don't feel rewarded for writing. I'll do it for school because there are grades, but it's something that's hard for me to do on my own. I'd much rather play Guild Wars than type elegant sentences because that game gives me points for what I'm doing while all I get for writing is a couple extra words on a page.

I hopped on NaNo for a couple minutes recently assuming that it would be really motivating and rewarding, but what I found was a pretty uninspiring user interface that could only really track your words per day. I can write down my words, but that's not what gamification is about. Gamification is about engaging users and making them actually want to do something. I think it's about time somebody gamified writing. I don't have the skills to do it, but I encourage somebody else to give it a shot. If someone could make a system that I could run in the background of my documents that gave me missions, quests, achievements, badges, and reward points for writing that would be fantastic. The missions can be epic adventures like write fifty thousand words as long as they have a nice progress bar. The quests can be silly things like writing sentences with thiry words or writing a paragraph without using a particular letter. The achievements should be correlated to the missions and quests you've completed and there should be associated points. The points don't have to be related to anything in the real world. It'll increase my motivation anyway. Virtual currency with absolutely no value is something I still feel the need to collect. I don't know why it does, but having a competitive ticker of points earned makes me significantly more likely to do something.

If this already exists please tell me. I need it. I really want to write, but it would be a lot easier with a progress bar.

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