Monthly update – WordkeeperAlpha & Impervious

Greetings fellow nerds. I write to you tonight from the comfort of my own home, drinking a nice Blue Moon Belgian Ale and listening to the new Nightwish album, Shudder Before the Beautiful.  Truly, life is good.  However, life has not been entirely productive this month.  Mid-month writing progress is kind of disappointing, as is work on WordKeeperAlpha.

I’ll admit it: I’ve kind of been wasting my free time for the past few weeks.  I’ve been hitting the video games a little hard and its been fun.  Soon enough, time gets away from you and you forget what in the hell you were even working on. Thankfully, last month went pretty well as I clocked in at just shy of fifteen thousand words.  My goal was to write for a total of twenty days, and I made nineteen.  That sort of goal seems to work best for getting my writing done.  You can kind of tell when I got serious about it.

 

April Writing - WordKeeperAlpha April writing – WordKeeperAlpha

 

With that knowledge, I’d have liked to do that again this month, but I’ve putzed away most of the days this month, and the rest of the month is filled with stuff.  I may be digging something of a hole, in terms of my word goals, that it will be hard to get out of.  Right now, I’m doing pretty well for my year goal, only being a few thousand behind total.  This month may be something of a low point for the year.  Speaking of which, here’s how that’s looking:

 

Graph for 2015, Generated by WordKeeperAlpha 2015 so Far – WordKeeperAlpha Graph

 

If you compare that to LAST year, I’m doing pretty good on my goals of writing more.  This is what last year looked like:

 

Graph of writing for 2014 Writing for 2014 – Graph by WordKeeperAlpha

 

Yeah, so if you were wondering, THIS is what’s so awesome about WordKeeperAlpha.  Being able to see that, despite how I feel, I really am doing better, is a huge boon.

So, I might not be making all my goals, but I have been getting much better about my writing.  And I’ve been focusing much better on Impervious.  I wish I was keeping to my one chapter a week goal, but as usual, there are extenuating circumstances.  Most of them are related to my inexperience in writing a whole epic fantasy novel.  Every now and again I come to a problem in the plot that can only be fixed by going back and doing about two weeks of work on worldbuilding and figuring out why something works the way I want it to.

Bah, but enough about that. While Impervious is my main project, I’m also working, if slowly, on WordKeeperAlpha.  So far this month, I’ve identified several areas to improve upon, marked down many new tasks to take upon myself for later versions and mostly played around with the code behind the scenes, making it a bit more robust and preparing it for future upgrades.  I know you, the users, might not notice much, but I AM working on it.

Something that’s really of note though, is that I’m rolling testing for the API.  By that I mean, the first function on the API is live and waiting for someone to try it out.  So, if you’ve got some coding know-how and want your blog readers to see your goals and progress on your blog or website, let me know and I’ll fill you in on what you need to know.  I’ve got another few features to finish before the whole API is good to go, but once it is I’ll work up some examples to make it more easily accessible for the non-tech savvy types.

Now, with my blogging duties done, I think I’ll get some work done on Impervious before I kick off for tonight. Later mi amigos.


Quick WordKeeperAlpha Status update

You know how you’re all ready to sit down and spend a rainy day writing at the coffee shop, you get there, and sit around for an hour just staring at your computer?  Yeah.  That’s where I am right now.  So, while my writing brain is spinning up, figuring out how to start this new chapter, I thought I would pop in and give you an update on what’s going on with WordKeeperAlpha!

Lets start off with ongoing issues.  I know there’s a problem with the site not remembering people past a couple hours.  That’s not supposed to be happening and I’ve been working on it for the longest period of time.  Its frustrating, for both you and for me, but as yet, I don’t know what the heck is going on.  I’ve tried out half a dozen different solutions, but nothing has really seemed to stick.  Rest assured, I’m looking into it.

The goal graph continues to be something that I’m working on.  Right now, the only goal it tracks is a monthly recurring goal without a project.  My aim is to have it so that you can have that track any Goal or Project, potentially seeing many different Goal graphs and selecting what you want to see as your default.  I’m also thinking of changing the goal graph to be the default graph, to be more like NaNoWriMo and provide a bit more motivation.  Still, this is a ways away from being fully functional.

New features:  I’m most focused on finishing up the API right now.  For those of you who aren’t coders, this will be a feature that will let you get your Project and Goal information and progress on other sites.  Once this is done, you’ll (or a coder acquiantance of yours) will be able to create a WordPress plugin or widget that gives a live feed of information off WordKeeperAlpha, so you can share your projects and progress with whoever you want.  Don’t worry, this will be something that you have to enable in your user settings page, so if you don’t want that data available, then it will stay safe.

I’m always refactoring the code for the site as I learn new techniques, but every time I do that, potential errors sneak into the code.  A special thanks to my users who report those problems to me as they occur.  I’m a one man team, so its all but impossible to catch everything. :-/

Social features are on the way, starting with the API, but then moving into public author pages, “friends”, writing groups, challenges and events.  My main focus, at the moment is finishing Impervious, but soon as that and the API are done, I’ll start in on some of the features that will allow more community involvement on WordKeeperAlpha.

Thanks to everyone who’s been using WordKeeperAlpha.  I’m up to over 400 registered users now, which is WAY more than I thought I would have by this time.  As always, I’m interested in your feedback, and can’t wait to hear about what you think of WKA and how it can help you write more and better.  Till next time, keep writing! 


The Ides of March – WordKeeperAlpha update

Alright.  So it isn’t really the “Ides” of March yet, but I like say “ides”.   But I digress (“Digress” is another word I like). Here we are, three and a half months into the year and what do I have to show for it?  Plenty!  You just may or may not notice it.  That’s because I’ve been diligently (kinda) working on bugs and other issues that have been reported to me by my wonderful users.

That isn’t sarcastic.  You guys really are wonderful and I really do appreciate it when you let me know when something isn’t working right.  As stated before, I’m only one man, and the likelyhood that I’ll find everything wrong with this Frankenstein’s Monster that I’ve cobbled together is minimal, especially when I think it works perfectly.  Trust me, I know it doesn’t.

WordKeeperAlpha development has is largely limited to the weekends now, while I focus more on getting my book done.  That doesn’t leave me as much time as I’d like for adding new features, but I AM working on them.  If you haven’t noticed the bugs, I’m not going to lay them out for you here.  If you have noticed bugs, and they haven’t been fixed yet, please let me know, and I’ll make it a priority to fix.  One major one that has been repeatedly pointed out to me is that the “Remember Me” box isn’t working properly yet.  *sigh*  Don’t worry, I’m not sighing at you, I’m sighing at me.  I’ve though that I’ve had this stupid thing sorted out twice now, but every time I think I’ve got it whipped, it rears its ugly head once again.  I am working on it… in fact its my primary goal right now.  So please, bear with me for just a while longer.

Other feautres that I’m working on:

  1. Public author pages (don’t worry, you’ll chose if you have a public page or not.)
  2. An API, so that other people can develop WordPress or other blog plugin’s to share your progress and projects.
  3. A semi-public writing room and simple text-editor to accomidate word sprints. More on this below.

I’ve always wanted WordKeeperAlpha to be a more social experience for writers, but at the same time, I also don’t want to be the Facebook for authors.  There’s already one of those.  It’s called Facebook.  What I want is to create something that will let authors interact and motivate each other.  Motivation is the key here and I think word sprints are the first thing that I want to take a stab at.  I’ve been on the fence about it, since there are scads of different options for you to write in.   Hell, I’ve got no less than six apps on my iPad that I can write in, distraction free.  I don’t need to reinvent that particular wheel.  What I’m shooting for is a really simple writing environment that will let many authors participate in the same writing sprint.  It may work, it might not, but I’m going to try it and see what people think.

This, of course, is where you come in.  Do you think I’m going in the wrong direction with WordKeeperAlpha?  Is there something that you’d like to see more than a blog plugins or a feature that supports word sprints?  Do you think that would be the bee’s knees (I have yet to figure out why a bee having knees would be anything someone would be excited about)?  Leave me a comment and justify my exist…  I mean give me feedback on what you think I should do with WordKeeper next.

… … 

Seriously, someone leave me a comment.  Its way to quiet around here.


2015: Kicking in your door.

This is the annual blog post where I resolve to do things, to better myself as a human being. The problem with resolutions, is they tend to get left by the wayside as the year wears on and different problems take precedence. Or maybe that’s just for me. Still, its good to have goals, and one of the best ways of keeping to them, is to be able to track them and see how good you’re doing. Also, know your limits. You probably aren’t going to get six pack abs by July unless you’re also prepared to completely give up pizza and spend all your time in a gym. I’m prepared to do neither of these things. Here’s my resolutions: Continue reading…


2014 in Review

I don’t know about you, but its been a pretty good year in House Swanson. We went to Phoenix Comic-con and had a blast with the Edge of December crew, despite the state being filled to the brim with creatures whose only purpose is to kill. I’m not even talking about the con attendees. I can not fathom how people have cities in a place where you might have a scorpion in your shoes in the morning. It might be there, or not. A venomous surprise first thing. Schroedinger’s scorpion. I remember we went out to swim in the pool one night, and Glenn was looking around for something near the pool, and he said, “Be careful, there’s some black widows over here,” like I might say, “Hey, there’s some ice on that stair.” *shiver* The two are NOT EQUIVALENT!

Katie and I moved into a nice new house. Its been a great little house so far, and we’re looking forward to staying there for a few more years before we’re ready to actually buy a house and settle down somewhere.

I completely recoded and revamped WordKeeperAlpha and launched it in … August, I think. Since then I’ve gone from about 5 users on the old system to over 250 at last count. Prior to the new version being launched I got maybe 5 hits a day, most of those from some dumb web crawler out of the Netherlands…which I’m still trying to figure out how to ban from my sites completely. Jerks. I digress… Now I’m clocking in at nearly 40 hits per day, and as many as 80! Its really kind of awesome that people are actually using this thing that I made. I know that I’ve said that before, but I really thought that I’d be fortunate if 100 people ever found it, let alone used it on a regular basis.

I got started with a new writing group, well, just one patient person who’s helping me with Impervious, as I’m helping them with their project… at least, I hope I am. Still, its good to be in a writing group again.

Impervious is coming right along, even if the second draft isn’t done yet. I’d hoped to have that done by the end of the year, but I’m at least still making progress. I’ve got a nice week and a half before I have to go back to work, and I’m going to be using that time to punch in a few more words before the years over and to get a nice head start on 2015. I’ve got some grander goals for 2015: getting my second draft finished, the third draft started and finished, starting the second draft of the second book, and using NaNoWriMo to get a jump start on the third book in the trilogy … if its a trilogy, I’m not sure yet.

I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo this year, only clocking in at 25,000 words. Am I disappointed? A little. But, it seems like NaNo is going to be more for punching out most of a first draft than working on second drafts. I’ve been much more picky working on the second draft of Impervious, which is why it hasn’t been coming along quite as fast as the first draft did.

I was hoping that I’d be able to write at least 180,000 words in 2014, but I ended up getting about 120,000 done. I still feel pretty good about that, mostly because of everything I was able to get done with WordKeeperAlpha. I’m not really going to be talking about my goals for 2015 right now, I’ll get into that in a different post at the start of 2015, but I am going to be putting more focus on both reading more books and writing.

So. 2014. I didn’t get in shape. I didn’t finish the second draft of Impervious. I did kick ass at making WordKeeperAlpha. I’m happy, healthy (relatively speaking) and not wanting for anything other than more hours in the day to do more stuff. I think I’m going to call 2014 a success, and work on making 2015 an even better year. Here’s to all of you lovely people, hoping you had a great year, and the coming one will treat you better still. Happy New Years, folks!