When 2018 rolled around, the Online Writing Log was still very much in its infancy. A mere handful of months old, there were plenty of bugs, lots of missing features and a lot of work to do. Much has happened since then and there's a whole lot left to come.
For those of you that were around for the October issue, you know that the Online Writing Log was an integral part of the NaNoInspo campaign, an effort to encourage writers to finish NaNoWriMo. Without a doubt, that effort was a success. OWL saw the highest word count by far throughout November. Being able to help a bunch of writers achieve their dream is truly an honor.
At the same time, development of new features has been paused since the beginning of November, except for a few bugfixes here and there. With that in mind, instead of doing a whole 2018 in review newsletter, I'd like to focus more on where OWL is going next.
But before we go into those details, I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of you. Many of you have tried out OWL and many have found it to be an indispensable tool in their writing progress. It's for all of you that OWL exists.
In the last couple of months, it has become apparent that there are several features of OWL that still need work. The timers, in particular, seem to have a somewhat inconsistent behavior. Considering the timers are an integral part of OWL, this is a problem.
My goal for January is, therefore, to focus on revamping the timers. This includes the "stopwatch" type timer as well as the countdown timer. I've been testing a couple of different variations over the last couple of days and I think I have identified a solution that's easier to implement than how OWL currently handles timers. My hope is to have this implemented in OWL within the next couple of weeks.
I'm also going to be paying special attention to other smaller things that don't quite behave as expected.
Ko-Fi Account Page
For those that have supported OWL before through Ko-Fi, you likely noticed that the Ko-Fi page you landed on was my personal one, a page that's really dedicated to all my other creative efforts. So, I've set up this Ko-Fi page for the Online Writing Log. Any support still goes to the same place but I'm hoping it'll avoid confusion between my other projects and OWL.
Improved Onboarding Experience
At the moment, all of the major pages contain a brief tutorial on how to use the features of that particular page. To reinforce these, I'll be adding emails that highlight certain features during the first week of signing up. Then, as new features are added, it'll be a way of distributing more information about these new features. This feature is pretty much ready for prime-time and it's one of the new items I'll be rolling out this month while I work on other fixes.
Other Ideas For The Future
There are plenty of other features still cooking, many that already work, some of which are only in the planning stage. Most of these will be held back until things like timers and other annoying little bugs have been taken care of. These features include:
- Challenges - This feature is about 75% complete.
- Achievements - Although badges/trophies has been implemented, there's work that needs to be done around notifications etc.
- Email notifications - this is intended to provide a way to encourage you and cheer you on as you write or miss a day.
- A ton of other fun stuff, yet to be announced!
Anyway, I'll share more about the future next month and the progress of bugfixes and timer updates.
Thank you again!
Mattias @ OWL