Why our writing community rocks and data geekery makes you feel less alone

Why our writing community rocks and data geekery makes you feel less alone Image

I love finding out how (and what and when and where) writers write. One of my favourite procrastination activities is researching other writers’ procrastination activities. I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes, and nothing beats attending a live event and getting the inside track on my favourite authors’ habits and routines.

I’m a writing fan-girl and this week I’ve been indulging my fascination by getting to know the Prolifiko community. I try to speak to our writers as often as possible, but in the last few days I wanted to get a sense of the big picture. That means data.

Why data matters

One of the ambitions for Prolifiko is to help writers understand their own writing habits. This will help users optimise their routines to make time for writing and make best use of the time available. Our writers are busy people, but that’s not going to stop them writing.

If you haven’t seen it before check out one of our first users, Wyl Menmuir’s data visualisation by The Guardian and find out how one writer’s data can help us all write.

Without getting too geeky, I analysed the last 1,000 goals to figure out what people were writing*. This was data heaven for me and gave me a much better understanding of our writers.

So, meet the community:

Creative and non-fiction

As you can see from the chart, most people are ‘creative’ writers with 72% writing fictional works in the broadest sense. That spans everything from song lyrics and poetry, scripts for TV, film and stage, to short stories and novels.

Just over a quarter of writers – 28% – are writing non-fiction including business, academic and professional blogs, articles, essays and books. An amazing range of writing.

The long and short of it

The most popular format for both creative and non-fiction writers is the book, with just under half of all writers, at 48%, working on book projects. This is the traditional long-form, big mission, that takes a huge amount of time and effort to keep going with.

But the other half are tackling shorter forms, whether it’s a short story or article of few thousand words, blog of a few hundred words, or a poem or flash fiction of a few words, these writers are also focussed on finishing what they start.

Kick-starting creativity

Another group of writers, across all categories and formats, just want to start writing. There are lots of writing exercises with creative approaches to getting the words on page including morning pages, free writing and translating notes into ideas. Inspiration and motivation to kickstart a writing habit is a big ambition.

Every writer has a unique project, but everyone is united by the goal of writing: whether they are starting, keeping going or finishing their writing projects.

Writing alone, together

It’s important for me as a writer to know that I’m not alone. I write by myself, at unsociable times of the day, racked by fear and self-imposed pressure, deadlines and frustrated ambitions.

But I know there is a whole community of writers out there struggling as I do, and making progress step by step, day by day.

Writers – whatever you’re writing – I salute you.

* Our users’ privacy is incredibly important to us. All data is anonymised, in line with data protection legislation, and our privacy policy.

Bec Evans About the author: Co-creator of Prolifiko, Bec has spent a lifetime reading, writing and working with writers. From her first job in a bookshop, to a career in publishing, and several years managing a writers’ centre, she’s obsessed with working out what helps writers write.