Most writers don’t crank out 10,000 words a day.
Most writers struggle to find the time, energy and discipline to write.
This productivity tool will catapult you toward your writing goals in the best way possible: By gamifying your life.
Habitica, formerly HabitRPG, is a free online game that revolves around you and your productivity in life.
It rewards you for achieving the goals you set.
It punishes you for skipping daily chores or tasks you entered.
And it has built-in community features that help you stay accountable.
How Habitica works
When you sign up for the game, you create an avatar. You can choose skin color, hair style, glasses, background and even a wheelchair if you’re so inclined.
Now, armed with your avatar, you begin to define your goals.
There are three types of goals: habits, dailies, and to-dos.
- Habits: Create a habit when you’re trying to encourage yourself to do an activity on a loose schedule. You can hit the habit’s plus button to give yourself a reward.
- Dailies: These tasks must be completed every day. If you miss a daily, you will be penalized by losing health points (HP). Don’t worry, though — there are ways to heal, especially by leveling up.
- To-Dos: This is the home of your non-daily tasks, which may or may not have a deadline.
When you complete your habit, check off a daily or complete a task, you will be rewarded with experience points (XP). The more XP you have, the closer you are to leveling up. The higher your level, the more you get when you complete a task or daily, and so on.
There are more features, which unlock when you reach level 10, but the basics remain the same: You get rewarded for doing what you consider worthy, and penalized when you shirk your duties.
Habitica’s armor, weapons and other rewards
When you complete a task, you receive some in-game money. That money can be spent on getting better armor and weapons, which enhance your in-game abilities.
If rewards like armor and weapons don’t make you drool, you can define your own awards and set their prices.
- 10 gold coins for taking a 10-minute break.
- 25 gold coins for writing at a cafe instead of at home.
- 50 gold coins for half an hour of reading whatever you want.
- 100 gold coins for buying a book off your Amazon Wishlist.
Guilds and groups
Form an accountability group with your friends, and fight monsters together! Each task you complete will harm the monster, and any incomplete dailies will hurt not only you, but the rest of your team as well.
Talk about peer pressure!
Join the Wordsmiths or Writers guild, and pick up some accountability and inspiration challenges! The Wordsmiths guild has an “Accountability Club”, where you declare your weekly goal before the entire group, and a week later report back on how well you did. Follow through the challenge for an entire month (even if you don’t achieve your set goals), and you might win some in-game gems, as well, for those extra-special prizes!
Socializing on Habitica adds a whole new aspect to the game, and it’s much more fun than playing alone. (Though the latter is definitely an option, if you’re so inclined.)
Include “Writing” as a habit you want to encourage. Click the plus button whenever you manage to write, and click the minus button if you haven’t written all day. Habitica will track for you how many times you’ve clicked each button.
Include “Procrastination” as a habit you wish to root out. Every day you procrastinate, hit the minus button to (moderately) punish yourself.
Set yourself a daily writing task of X words, but keep it sane and doable.See how long you can keep a positive streak — Habitica tracks that, too!
Join the Wordsmiths or Writers guild, and browse their challenges.
Create tasks for special writing milestones: completing 10k words of your novel, 20k words, and so on. There are challenges such as the Wordsmiths’ “Writing Across Middle Earth” that help you set such goals in a creative, fun way.
Back from a long break? Try the “Write, Kid!” challenge to get you back into the habit of writing.
Here’s the caveat
It’s tempting to start managing your entire life on Habitica. It helps to keep your head clear about your goals and dailies.
Many people report that when they track everything in Habitica, writing becomes a secondary goal and suffers for it. Because playing Habitica upgrades the priority of whatever it is you have to do — for example, cleaning the kitchen — you will find yourself doing all the cleaning dailies in time, but writing less.
Keep Habitica dedicated to the things that really matter: writing, editing, and getting published.
Just don’t forget to eat simply because there’s no daily for it!
Habitica has turned my life into one big game, one in which I’m definitely the winner.
I thought I was productive before I tried it. Now I know what true productivity means. With a writing habit, a daily word count, and some overall writing goals, I’m working on my novel more than I had in the last three months put together.
May it help you write more, write better and write true. See you there!