2015: Excuses and Explanations

Ok, so, as years go, 2015 was actually pretty good from a writing perspective. Granted, I didn’t accomplish several goals that I set for myself, but I did make significant progress on many goals, and accomplished others that I hadn’t set. One goal that I did accomplish was writing more in 2015 than I wrote in 2014. I’ve got graphs to prove it too! Still, the title of the blog post has more to do with my love of alliteration than of anything else. Now, onward!

In 2014 I wrote a little more than 100,000 words. There are significant periods where I wasn’t writing much, which was primarily due to working on WordKeeperAlpha.


In 2015 I wrote around 135,000 words, which, while not the 180,000 I was aiming for, is a significant improvement. This year, too, there were significant dry spells, having to do entirely with buying a house.  That was a pretty huge thing.


While I wanted the second draft of Impervious done by November, that just didn’t happen. I did make really excellent progress with it though, the story going through several changes and revisions for the better. I’m roughly half way done with the draft two rewrite at the moment, with a pretty clear path of how to finish it out.  Draft three will have some significant work involved, but thankfully not a full rewrite. But, that’s for my “2016: Some clever title” post (coming soon.)

I spent a fair amount of time working on WordKeeperAlpha this year as well. Not too many new features, but mostly because I’m saving them all for one large update in the first half of this year. I’ve made significant changes to the graphing system that will let users choose their own goal graphs and graphs based on projects, too. I’ve also got the beginnings of an API that will let users post their progress on their blogs.

I ironed out a lot of bugs over the course of the year. Thanks to all my users who let me know about them when they crop up. I try my best to correct issues you guys have as soon as I hear about them, so please, keep letting me know.

Other things that happened in 2015:

  • We bought a house and moved! It’s completely awesome, and my office is sweet.
  • I got glasses and became that much older.
  • I won NaNoWriMo, which felt good after not completing it last year.
  • I built more IKEA furniture than I knew existed.
  • I replaced a faucet, earning my Homeowner merit badge!
  • Played perhaps too many video games and didn’t read enough books.
  • More stuff I’m forgetting about, because it’s lost in the pre-history of ‘last year’.

Well, that’s another year done. A new one is already under way, but as I said, I’m leaving goals and projects for another blog post. November – December were kind of non-months in terms of blogging, and that means I’m going to overcompensate by stretching out my ‘life-update’ posts as much as possible. That being said, I’m going to check out and try to get a head start on this year’s goals.

WordKeeperAlpha and National Novel Writing Month

In the beforetimes, there was National Novel Writing Month.  A spectacular explosion of writing and creativity, it brought author to keyboard like nothing since the creation of the typewriter.   When I first participated it was an interesting experiment to see if I could manage to write a full fifty thousand words in a single month.  By some miracle I managed to do it!  It was awesome!  I felt invincible and was keen to keep using their mighty handy tools and graphs to continue on into December.

But then they disappeared: Gone until next November (or the camp event that’s in the summer but we all know that it isn’t as good.) This, I thought, shall not stand, for I have a need for those motivational tools.  Thus was born the inspiration for WordKeeperAlpha.  Now, just a couple short years after my first NaNoWriMo, its a thing that I created that people actually use.  This is enough to blow my feeble mind.

Now, I would never want people to not participate in NaNoWriMo on their website.  That’s where the magic really happens.  You get together with your fellow authors and keep pushing the words out until you hit your goal.  But, if you use WordKeeperAlpha too, and want to keep track of the words you write in November, here’s a quick and handy guide to getting your project set up.

First, if you don’t have one, sign up for an account on WordKeeperAlpha.com.  Go on, I’ll wait until you’re up and running.  … … Good?  Eh, they’ll catch up.

Next, go to your Goals and Projects page, and click the “Add a project button.” Refer to the image below to add in the information then click “Create”.


Bam! You’re already ready to go!  But wait, you probably want one of those nifty graphs like you see on NaNoWriMo.org.  For that, you’ll need a goal, in fact, you’ll probably want two goals.  First, we’re going to create a repeating monthly goal, which is what will create that nifty graph.  Before we do that though, you’ll have to remove any other repeating monthly goals that you might have, or just edit one.

Use the information below.


Make sure you keep the project field blank.  Due to a problem with the way I originally made the code you can’t have a project selected for that graph, but its something that will be fixed in time for next year’s NaNoWriMo.  This means that all the words you log in November will be displayed on the graph…which is a short coming, I know…but if you’ve got time to write more than one thing in November you really have my respect.

Next, you’ll probably want a repeating daily graph.  Use the information below to create it.


There! You’re done and ready to go for National Novel Writing Month!

Some people have asked me if there’s any way to support WordKeeperAlpha, (yes, they really have) and one of the best ways is to spread the word.  The more users I have the better I feel about myself as a human being.  It’s a sweet balm to my black soul.  But, there’s no financial way to do that yet for reasons.  While I will have something soon, this month, if you’d like to do something for WordKeeperAlpha, instead think about going over to NaNoWriMo.org and making a donation.  Without them, this crazy project never would have happened.

In future years, once I’ve gotten better organized, I plan on doing an actual campaign for them, so for now I’ll just send people to donate to them directly.  The good people at NaNoWriMo.org depend on the donations of all the authors they encourage every year.  So if you’ve got five dollars to spare, go and drop it in their tip bucket, or give them a shout out on Twitter or Facebook.  We want to keep them doing what they’re doing and supporting developing authors into the far future.

Ok, that’s enough chatter from me.  I’m six hundred words into my day’s word count and I have much more left to do.  Later, Keepers.

WordKeeperAlpha update: Ending the long silence

Oif. I did not mean to go this long without an update.  My wife and I purchased a house earlier this month and we’re just getting to the point where we can afford some time in the evening to relax.  I only just got my desk into a state that I can use it… meaning that I still have to put the drawers together, and set up half a dozen other different things.  This all means that I haven’t really done any work on WordKeeperAlpha since … August?  I don’t really know… I’m still kind of exhausted from running around everywhere.  This is the most I’ve written in the last month and I feel terrible about it.


So. Nothing has really changed on WordKeeperAlpha since last months update.  I’m still getting reports of a bug on the Goals and Projects page.  I kind of know what’s causing it…but I also don’t really know how I’m going to fix it yet.  The bug manifests as the page throwing an error and not loading, which is bad.  The good news is, if you come back the next day its worked itself out.  So, if it happens to you, don’t fret!  If you come back the next day you’ll be back in business.  This isn’t saying that it isn’t a priority for me to fix, just give me another week or so to get back on my feet here.

Obviously, NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I want to participate this year.  I have no idea what I’m going to be writing yet, but I’m leaning toward something new, since a month away from Impervious has killed my velocity on it anyway.  We’ll see.  October is starting and I want to get back into things with a 20,000 word month, get all warmed up for NaNo but given all the work around the house that probably isn’t going to happen.  Still, I’m going to get writing again.

I’d like to have the new Goals and the new Projects page live before NaNoWriMo…but wisdom tells me that launching a major new feature right before I’m going to be super busy writing and the site will probably be seeing some of its highest traffic all year is not a smart thing to do.  So, I’ll spend some time in October plugging the holes in the current functionality and maybe toss together that updated About and Home page that I’ve been wanting to do.  Trust me, new stuff is coming and it’s coming soon.  I’ve just been … busy is a woefully inadequate word…but busy.  Now that I have my computer back and a modicum of time, I will be able to keep you better updated as to happenings as well.

So fear not! I’m not gone! WordKeeperAlpha is only going to keep getting better and better, only now I’m going to be working on it from the comfort of my very own house!

Phew! Writing all that was hard work.  I think I need to go lie down for a while.  Probably just go to bed.  See you later, Keepers.

WordKeeperAlpha – Bugfix (August Edition)

Just a quick update today.  Today’s update should, finally, fix the bug that kept people from having their sessions last longer than thirty minutes or so.  So, now if you check the ‘Remember Me’ button will make sure that when you leave, you won’t have to log in again.  Added bonus! I upgraded the security!

So, no new features to report today, but they are on the way.  I’ve had a really good suggestion for the new Projects page, and I’m excited about bringing you more features.  More updates, coming soon!

Edit: I’m aware that the latest update has broken a few things.  I’ll figure out what’s going on as soon as I can, but I won’t be at my computer for a few hours.  Please bear with me just a little and we’ll be back to normal soon.

Edit, the second: Just pushed out another update that should fix the bug.  Let me know in the comments, twitter or facebook if you notice anything else I need to attend to. Thanks for your patience!

WordKeeperAlpha Update – August 2015

Oif. I promised an update a week ago, but then life happened.  Life happened all over me.  Long story short, we’re buying a house! Woo! Yay! Huzzah! Really, both Katie and me are super excited and we can’t wait to get the move over with and start making the place our own, but its going to be a lot of work.  Unfortunately, my work on WordKeeperAlpha is going to take a little hit while we’re in the process of packing up all our stuff, cleaning, moving, so on and so forth.

It won’t take too much of a hit though.  I’ve been doing some really exciting work on the Goals and Projects lately.  I know, I know.  Didn’t I just get done revamping the Goals? Well, yes.  And aren’t they displaying a lot better now?  What I’m doing now will give you much more control over your goals, and give you more information.  Here’s a sample:


Screen shot of the new goals page The new sexy


Some people will go “Whoa! That looks cool!” while I’m sure other people are thinking “So what? How does that help me?”  First off, the keen eye will observe the goal graph on the right side.  This is the graph that you will be able to display on the home page, and eventually your author page.  You will be able to choose what graphs you display on your home page (to a certain point) which has been a major request.

Also, this page is being built completely in Angular.  What’s that mean? It means that the whole thing is going to load faster, AND required a new backend be built to support it.  That new backend is going to be used for a whole slew of new things, including blog support, writing groups and plenty of other nifty features.

The next update isn’t coming for a while yet.  It’s going to be pretty big, though, so very worth the wait, at least in my opinion.  Lets break down the features that are coming (hopefully) before NaNoWriMo kicks off in November.

  • New Goal page, featuring new stats, graphing and increased performance.
  • New Projects page, featuring more stats, graphing and increased performance.
  • Updated About page, featuring easier navigation to find the information that you need faster.
  • Updated Home page. Maybe featuring Angular for increased performance, custom graphs, word logs now editable from here.
  • Full API support. Want your WordKeeperAlpha goals and projects on your blog sidebar? This is the first step.

After all that is done, the next big update will be Social! My plans for social are coming together and will include:

  • An Author page, featuring goal and project progress.
  • Friends! Everyone needs friends and wants to see updates.
  • Writing Groups!  Share goals!
  • Events! I don’t know how this will work yet, but they will be short term little contests to get people writing as much as they can in a short amount of time.

WordKeeperAlpha is going to keep growing, keep getting better and its going to be because of you awesome people.  Are there more features that you want to see?  Leave a comment here, or give me a shout out on Twitter or Facebook.

Would you like to support WordKeeperAlpha?  Consider telling your writer friends about it.  Spread the word and get more people participating!  I’ve seen some really awesome growth over the past year and it makes me just want to push it more and make it even more awesome.  Anything helps: give me a shout out on Twitter or Facebook.  Write a blog post!  Send me your ideas / comments / complaints.  Social isn’t here yet, but we can still all get to know each other.  Has WordKeeperAlpha helped you finish your novel or story?  Let me know, I’d love to hear what you found the most useful.

Thanks for using WordKeeperAlpha!  I’ll keep you updated as to the status of the next update.