Earlier this week, I dashed off a quick post about myWriteClub.com. I was super busy, but excited about the (newly discovered) site and wanted to share. Plus, I find I do much better writing with people than alone. (Fancy that, I’m the classic introvert.) Anyway, the quickly formed plan was to let you all know in hopes I would get you ALL to follow me and join me with some word sprints during my lunch break.
Alas, I posted much too quickly.
The site is in beta and it doesn’t quite have all the features one might want. However, it is very cool and I plan to keep using it. I wish I had known about it for NewNoWriMo, but I did not. So, here’s the skinny:
When you join, you can add a Goal or not. You can add Friends or not. The only reason to have Friends is if you want to be able to see their progress and cheer them on (so leave the option for people to comment on your goals checked).
Here’s the real value of the site:
Up at the top of the screen, there are six icons. The third one looks like a little person running. Click on the running person, or sprint, icon and you’ll be given a choice to join the global sprint (anybody and everyone can join in here) or you can start a custom sprint. But there’s also a third choice. If you have a link to a custom sprint someone else has already started, you can join that sprint by simply clicking on the custom link. Like these two:
Viola! Once you visit a custom sprint page, a dropdown arrow next to ‘Start a custom sprint’ appears and you can easily get back to those custom pages.
There’s another important element to the sprints. Obviously, I’m not always on there. It’s useful to do the sprints all by your lonesome, but it’s…lonely. So, it might be a good idea to let your friends know your schedule.
Unfortunately, that’s one of the failings of the (admittedly beta) site. There’s no way to schedule a sprint session with your friends. Or to even message them on the site to let them know when you’ll be on. I put my tentative schedule in my bio so that at least, when folks visit my goal page, they’ll see that above my goals. At the moment, I have committed to the SFFWorld Sprintathon every weekday at noon (PST). For weekends, you’ll have to email me or comment on a post here on this blog for us to figure out a time that works.
Speaking of which…
How It Works
Once you get to the right custom sprint page (or the global one, feel free to jump in whenever you like), at a time when you know your friends will be there, you simply write on the blank page.
There’s a global clock that is continually running. For all sprints, custom or global, a writing session begins on the hour or the half hour and goes for 25 minutes. During those 25 minutes, anything you type on the sprint page (visible only to you) is tallied on the right side of the screen where you can see the progress of your compatriots. If you don’t want the visual distraction, you can click a little left-facing arrow to make it go away. There’s also a chat function for the breaks in between (you can’t see both the chat and the progress at the same time, but you can chat anytime).
And that’s it. I think the beauty of the site is its simplicity. It provides the basic tools you need to Just Write – with your friends!
Keep in mind that anything you write in the sprint pages is stored in your browser cache. It will be there the next time to log in or move from one sprint to the next. I’ve hooked up my myWriteClub account with my Dropbox account so I can periodically save to Dropbox. In addition, after each writing sprint, I cut/paste whatever I wrote to a Word document. That way, I start out fresh for the next sprint.
You’re more than welcomed to just leave your magus opus up there, but keep in mind that if your browser cache gets cleared, you will lose it.
One other thing – your sprints are not linked to your goals. You’ll have to update your goal progress independent of your sprint sessions.
I think that’s it.