A discussion ensued on an article written by @nicksimard with feature suggestions for 200wad. I thought I'd share my thoughts on writing streaks and ways to recover when you've broken a streak.
Writing involves a variety of habits, and habits are started, maintained, and automated. Writing apps need to consider what habits users are looking to develop, and to encourage that development in each phase.
How do you encourage people to start writing? How do you encourage them to maintain that habit? How do you keep users excited to use your app once they've ingrained the habit in their psyche (and can keep at it anywhere)?
For me, I use 200wad not just to write daily, but to overcome my perfectionism and publish daily. That's why my posts are public, not private (I still use 750words to sort out my mental junk).
Maintaining a streak is great, but helping users bounce back from a broken streak is also very important. Resilience is an essential quality to cultivate. And developing a habit isn't about doing it perfectly, but maintaining it despite the challenges. A single-minded fixation on a perfect streak can overlook how demoralizing it is to come back to writing once the streak is broken.
A writing streak should be celebrated, but bouncing back should also be encouraged.
One way to do this is to allow users to recover points for missed days, as long as they get back to writing quickly.
- 10 points for days during a writing streak
- If a day is missed, that's 0 points for the day
- If the user writes the following day (i.e. only one day is missed and not more), they can earn 5 points for the day missed
This way there's an incentive not to break a streak for too long and recoveries are also rewarded. Otherwise there's no real incentive to get back on track.
The point system may need refining, but the key idea is to reward bouncing back as quickly as possible.
CC: @basilesamel @lucjah