Habit RPG – gamifying my writing

As I mentioned yesterday, it can be hard to get into good habits. Even with the best of intentions, it’s difficult to stick at something if there’s no immediate payback, but rewarding yourself with a treat every time you put pen to paper is impractical. In trying to turn myself into a writer, building up habits is crucial – there’s no-one else to kick me into line if I get lazy. That’s why I’ve recently become a fan of Habit RPG.

Habit RPG is a web-page, and now an app, aimed at the nerdier sort of habit-former, which definitely includes me. It takes the compulsive parts of computer and tabletop roleplay games – the urges to keep your character alive and to see them advance – and turns it into a system for rewarding good habits. You set the tasks that you want to get done, and use the app to earn points towards rewards. Stick with it and your cute little adventurer avatar will become tougher and better equipped. Fail, and he will die. Oh no!

me and my shadow lion companion prepare to slay the blog
me and my shadow lion companion prepare to slay the blog

Gamification’s a fascinating area. The psychology of gaming is used these days in marketing, management, and of course those time-sapping adverts dressed as games on facebook. These techniques create emotional responses that are more powerful than any amount of reasoning. It’s why Habit works so well for me. It’s got me writing fiction nearly every day, and I’ve been flossing for 97 days straight (Habit tells me so).

I’d recommend it to anyone who’s trying to write, or to develop any other sort of habit. It’s free, it’s nifty, and it works.

And of course, writing this blog today – one of those good habits it reinforced.