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Hey, all you writers out there. Are you looking for a fun site to help motivate you to write in this new year?

Look no further than 4thewords.com.

If you’ve looked around my blog, especially around NaNoWriMo, you’ve probably seen me mention 4thewords (4tw) before. I’ve been a member since 2015 when I found it as a NaNo sponsor. I used it off and on in 2016, but have been a dedicated, daily user since January 1, 2017.

If you’ve never seen those posts or want more info now, here you go:

What is 4thewords?

logo-4tw4thewords is a site that turns writing into a game. You are a Dust Warrior in Oge Mai valley, valiantly helping the residents of the valley discover the source of the sinister dust that is overtaking the land and turning people crazy.

Along the way, you’ll meet interesting characters, battle monsters both big and small and complete quests for loot and glory.

How does it work?

1528408171_xin4tw gamifies writing by challenging you to defeat monsters in a certain time limit. Monster health is determined by a set number of words needed to beat it. This divides writing up into manageable goals that can range from the smallest 50-word monsters to the mammoth 5,000-word Caravan. There’s a monster for everyone’s goals and writing styles.

rudakai_mdBut if that 5k monster terrifies you, don’t fret. You’ll earn gear as you progress through the game that affects one of three stats: attack, defense, and luck. The better your attack, the fewer words you need to defeat a monster. The better your defense, the more time you have to finish a battle. And luck… well it gets you better drops in some way. We’re not really sure how it works.

It’s as simple as that. Choose a monster, open a file and write until you win.

Need more motivation?

stempo_mdDon’t worry, 4tw has you covered with hundreds of quests across over a dozen different areas that unlock as you work your way through the story. Quests require you to battle a certain number of monsters, collect specific items or write a specific number of words (among other things). You’re rewarded with all sorts of stuff from other items, chests, wardrobe items and sometimes stempos (special time-bending artifacts that let you repair streaks).

untu27_mdOn top of that, we have a multitude of special events throughout the year that come with their own quests and monsters that either pop up across the valley or in their own special zone. The biggest three revolve around the NaNo events in April, July, and November which last an entire month. Besides those are week-long festivals like Winter Wonderland that just ended and Pride Week in May/June and other random little holidays that show up.

Need even more?

4tw also boasts an active forum where we discuss all sorts of writing-related topics, life in general and just silliness (like the recent snowball fight thread). There are writers of every level there to offer advice or an understanding ear to listen.

Full disclosure, I am a forum mod, so I’m pretty partial and protective of our little corner of the internet. I’ve watched this place build up from a few dozen people trying to figure out this game to the robust and colorful group of gabby introverts we are today. It’s a great place to hang out, learn something new about writing, or find help for your most pressing 4tw game questions.


There are also rewards for maintaining streaks which are determined by writing at least 444 words each day. Every few days you get a little something–usually an item–but on certain days you get a bigger reward. Every 100 days you get some c-crystals (represents real money, used to buy game subscriptions) and then there are the wings for your avatar. They pop up at 15, 30, 90, and each year you maintain your streak. They’re a great way to strut your stuff in the forums.


The fine print

wignow_mdSo, you’re interested now and probably wondering what’s the catch. There’s always on, huh?

Here’s the thing… 4tw is a pay to play site. Yeah, it costs money. But don’t despair yet. First, you get a 30-day free trial to test things out when you sign up. That comes with the full version of the game–all the same quests and monsters as paid subscribers.

After that, each month costs $4. That’s less than $50/year, and if you participate in NaNo in November, there’s a discount code. Also, you can pay month-to-month as you can/need to use the site.

And, if you really love us but can’t swing that $4/month, you can talk to the developers about help, add your name to a lottery of free months donated by other players, or just ask around the forums for a sponsorship from a veteran. We love to spread the love of 4tw.

But is it worth it?

avi_xmas19In my opinion, totally. There isn’t a day I’m not on this site. I mean it. I haven’t missed a day of writing since January 1, 2017. That’s three years, writing every day (okay, so it’s mostly in my journal, but it’s still writing something). And I’ve found more support and motivation on the site than anywhere else. My production was way up before I got sick and even then, I’m still writing every day.

If you do decide to sign up, even for just the free trial, use my referral code WVBIY23608 to get extra c-crystals (how we pay for subscriptions and cool wardrobe items for your forum avatar–that’s me right there).

But wait, there’s more!

Starting right now there’s a new year-long event going on that lets you explore even more of the valley, meet even more new monsters and comes with more quests every month.

And soon, we’ll be introducing houses. I don’t know what they’re going to be like, but we’ll get to build them up. There are already some new items that can be placed in them as rewards for the new Hunt quests.

The developers are always listening to our suggestions, making updates, adding content, and just making a fun place to write and hang out.

Really, you should at least check it out for your free 30 days. There’s so much to do and see in Oge Mai valley. You should come join us.


Happy Halloween to My Fellow Dust Warriors from Eloise

Eloise the Literary Raptor is getting in the holiday spirit.


Here she is in her spiffy necklace I found in the bark chips at the playground while Pokemon hunting. It really sets off the color of her… body.

Eloise took a trip to the backyard pumpkin patch while it was sunny and picked out some pumpkins to decorate.



She’s not the greatest artist. I mean, she’s a Literary Raptor, not a Sketching Raptor, but she got the job done.



She really loves her pumpkins, but Halloween wouldn’t be complete without a costume. Eloise decided to be a witch this year. Isn’t her wee hat just adorable?



Eloise is all ready for Halloween with her pumpkin bucket full of candy corn–a Literary Raptor’s favorite treat (of course she hasn’t tried my Christmas kolackies yet).


And for those of you joining me from 4thewords, here’s a photo just for you. Read more…

4 the words


I’m back to tell you about this great writing site called 4 the words.

With Camp NaNo upon us, anything that offers motivation and incentives is much needed. 4 the words is that place.

4twlogo-xs4tw (as we call it) is fun because it turns writing into a game. If you’re a fan of Habitica or role-playing games in general, this might be the site for you. See, it’s set up so you have a character–a Dust Warrior–and you must go on quests to fight monsters to advance in the game.


How does that relate to writing?



Well, each monster has a word goal and a time goal to beat it. Like the cute Wignow needs 250 words written in 30 minutes to beat it. In return, you get things like leaves and dust which are needed later to craft stuff you might need to battle other monsters or just need to collect for quests.

And there are lots of monsters of all sizes from the tiny Xin at 100 words in 20 minutes to the giant River Goddess at 5000 words in 72 hours. To help you along, you can collect gear for your character to affect three stats. Attack reduces the number of words you need to defeat a monster (1% per stat), Defense gives you more time to complete the batttle (.5% per stat), and Luck… does something–we don’t really know, but in theory it increases the drop rate of items.

4tw_play2There are currently nine zones to explore,  each with their own monsters (although there is some overlap) and quests. Quests are what get you motivated. They’re anything from keep a streak for a certain number of days or to collect certain numbers of items or to fight a certain number of monsters. There are main quests that move you along in the game (opening new zones) and side quests that sometimes offer fun items for your avatar.

There’s also a personal streak calendar that offers gifts for hitting milestones of daily writing which means hitting a 444-word goal on 4tw. And at the end of each year, you get a new set of spiffy angel wings. The site also tracks the number of words you’ve written on the site and the time you’ve spent writing and puts them into shiny graphs.

And if that isn’t enough to pique your interest, there’s a thriving and supportive community on the forums (full disclosure: I’m a moderator there).

If this sounds like the kind of site for you, now is the perfect time to check it out because a special event for Camp NaNoWriMo has just started (if they’ve gotten those pesky bugs worked out yet). Special events are a lot of fun because they offer a break from the main storyline of the game. There are three big events that correspond to NaNoWriMo events–the first of those being April Camp. There are also many mini-events (usually a week long).

The big special events offer a brand new zone with new monsters and quests that are only available during that event. So now’s the time to head over and check out our expedition that has just launched from the Base Camp.

I should mention that 4tw is a pay-to-use site, but you get a 30-day free trial to explore everything. Like I said, now’s a great time to check out the special event for free.

After that, the site is $4/month, which in my opinion, is well worth the cost.

corecrystal_sm-minIf you do decide to sign up (even for the free trial) use this referral code WVBIY23608 that way if you make a payment you get free c-crystals (our form of currency you use to buy subscription time and special clothes for your avatar) and so do I.

I really hope you try us out.

Now I must set off on an expedition to slay a few monsters and find the Guardian of the forest.

Time to Get Your NaNo On!


Yes, it is that time of year again. NaNoWriMo!

It’s currently 7pm my time so I have a few hours to kill before I can officially begin the craziest month of the year.

2018-Writer-BadgeFor those not in the know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a worldwide event that takes place every November. The goal is to write a 50k word novel in 30 days. And, yes, it can be done. I won’t be a particularly well-written novel. Or even make much sense, but it can be written. I should know… this is my 14th NaNo, and I’ve won eight times (08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17).

This year, I’m a bit of a “rebel” in that I’m not starting a brand new project. Instead, I’m finishing Heaven Can’t Wait. I started the story originally for Camp NaNo in April 2017 and began posting chapters last November. I’ve gotten to a point where I’m editing the last of the chapters I have finished.

That means, the entire second half of the story is unwritten. And based on my outlines, I have more than enough left to write 50k words. I’m excited and nervous. Nervous because I haven’t been getting much writing done lately. I can usually have one or two good days, but they burn me out and then I don’t write anything for days.

It’s going to take a lot of energy to stay focused and on track to finish the story by the end of November. But that’s the beauty of NaNo. When you’re working alongside thousands of other writers who are just as crazy, stressed and frustrated, things don’t seem so bad.

If you’re a writer and thinking this sounds kind of interesting, there’s still time to sign up without missing anything. And if you do (or don’t), check out 4thewords.com for a fun writing experience.


4thewords is writing gamified. Writing isn’t as daunting when it’s broken into little chunks disguised as adorable little monsters that must be beaten in a certain amount of time. There are hundreds of monsters and quests to keep you motivated and productive.

wignow_mdBut best is that November is a special event month for the site. This year, the theme is a carnival with its own area, monsters, and quests to get you to 50k words in 30 days. It’s the best time to join or check us out.

There’s a 30-day free trial, but after that, the site is $4.44/month which is well worth it. I’ve written more in the three years I’ve been a member than probably the previous ten years.

corecrystal_sm-minIf you decide to check the site out, use this referral code: WVBIY23608. If you eventually buy some c-crystals (exchanged for subscription time and other items), we both get free crystals. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

That Time of Year Again


I’m not sure if I’m officially doing Camp this round. I haven’t been feeling the greatest health- and mood-wise so writing was a struggle all through June. I don’t want to put undue pressure on myself then feel guilty when I can’t handle it.

On the other hand, I wasn’t going to participate in April then ended up writing like ten chapters of Heaven Can’t Wait and nearly caught up with edits.

This month, I’d like to also work on finishing/editing some of the stories from April 2017 Camp. But I won’t restrict it to just those stories. There are also the stories from March 2017 when I did a different prompt every day and then all of the stuff I’ve started this year out of boredom. I know there are a bunch that I could pretty easily finish if I put my mind to it.

wignow_mdAnyway, if you are participating in Camp or just want some motivation for your writing, check out 4thewords.com. It’s a fun site where you battle monsters with your words to complete quests. Each monster (like the cute Wignow to the left) has a certain number of words to finish in a time limit (Wignows are 250 words in 30 minutes).

untu27_mdIt’s a lot of fun, but it cost $4/month after the 30-day free trial. But right now is a great time to try it out because we have special events that coincide with NaNo events, and this month is another Untu hunt.

There’s a special zone, monsters that only appear during April and July, and lots of fun quests to get you writing. If you decide to check it out, use this referral code: WVBIY23608. That way we both get c-crystals if you eventually buy a month’s subscription. C-crystals are currency in the game and are used to pay for subscriptions and wardrobe items for your avatar.

Trust me, the site is worth it if you need that little extra to get you writing or something to keep you focused.

Camp NaNoWriMo


It has begun!

I don’t think I’m really participating this year. I can’t decide on a project to focus on, and I’ve been lucky to write even half of the days each month. Maybe my goal is just to write every day. It’s something. I’ll think about it a little more today. I might feel okay now, but tomorrow could be another story.


But for those of you that are participating or thinking about, don’t forget to check out 4 The Words. It’s a fun writing website set up like a roll-playing game. You choose a character for yourself, set up the avatar, then battle monsters to finish quests. The monsters require a different number of words in different amounts of time to beat.

untu1It really is a lot of fun, and this month there is a special event running for Camp NaNo–the Untu Hunt which has it’s own zone, monsters and quests. It’s a great time to join in and use your 30-day trial (after that it does cost $4.44/month, but it’s well worth it).

If you decide to sign up, use this referral code WVBIY23608. If you end up buying a subscription, we both get bonus core-crystals which are currency in the game.

Get Your Words Out

If you’re like most writers, you made a New Year’s resolution to write more words. Or write more consistently. Or just write, period. Easier said than done. I know.

One way to keep you motivated and on track is Get Your Words Out at dreamwidth and livejournal.


GYWO challenges you to write a certain number of words in a year (or a certain number of days). There are different pledge levels from 75k to 500k. I personally pledged 350k this year after easily killing my 250k pledges the last two years.

There’s an active support group at dreamwidth if you need encouragement. You don’t need an account there to participate, you can log in using a wordpress blog through OpenID, and I’m sure many other sites.

The only requirement is to update your word count at the end of each month. It’s a simple form. That’s it.

Here’s the catch: You have to sign up and pledge by January 15 if you want to play. After that, you can’t join the fun. So, if you want in, you need to head over to the comm right now before it’s too late.

You get a nifty spreadsheet to record your progress if that helps.

If you do sign up, consider coming over to 4thewords to keep you on track. Fight monsters and go on quests to boost your word count. It’s a fun site with a great community behind it.*


If you decide to join up, use this referral code: WVBIY23608 so we can both get a bonus.

*full disclosure: I’m a forum mod so I might be biased. 😉

4 The Words and NaNoWriMo

NaNo-2017-Participant-Badge (1)It’s here! NaNoWriMo starts in less than two days. Thirty-eight hours! I’m so not ready.

NaNo is a huge undertaking. 50k words in 30 days? It can be done. If you’re looking for a boost to your daily word count or boost your motivation, check out 4 the Words.

4twlogo-xsI’ve written about it before. 4TW is a writing site that’s been “gamified.” A sort of RPG for writers. You create your avatar, fight monsters, and go on quests. The monsters differ in word count and time limit needed to defeat them. There is something for everyone. Some monsters are really short–Frizi are 150 words in ten minutes. Some are long–Tambo are 2000 words in 340 minutes. How difficult a monster is to beat depends on your writing style.

wignow_mdFighting monsters isn’t the only motivation. There are also dozens of quests to go on as you advance through the storyline (and there is a story). The best part is with NaNo comes a special zone that is only available in November. It’s full of new monsters and quests that get you special rewards in-game and for your avatar.

On top of all of the fun that will get you looking forward to writing your 1,667 words each day, there is a forum filled with amazing writers that cheer each other on and answer questions.

There is a 30-day free trial which is perfect for NaNo (I suggest waiting until the 1st to sign up). After that, it costs $4/month. Trust me, it’s well worth the cost. Luckily, there’s a discount code for NaNo participants (see your sponsor offers). And there’s an even bigger discount for winners.


I’m telling you, this site is amazing. I’ve written more this year than any year in the past.

And I haven’t missed a single day. I have never in my life had a streak that long.

If you decide to sign up, use this referral code: WVBIY23608. There’s free core-crystals (that’s currency on the site) in it for both of us.

Tools of the Trade: 4thewords.com

As an author, I’m always looking for things–programs, websites, apps–that make writing easier or more enjoyable.

4twlogo-xsI discovered 4thewords.com in October 2015. It was listed as a sponsor for NaNoWriMo. I checked it out and was intrigued, although, I promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until March 2016 that I truly saw the genius of the site. I wrote 125,000 words that month.

There are a lot of sites out there that offer a place to write and store your words. They might even give you incentives like monthly challenges or have pretty graphs (750words.com is one of them). So what makes 4thewords special?

4tw_playIt’s all in the packaging. And this site is wrapped up in a role-playing game complete with avatars, monsters to fight, and quests to finish. If you like RPGs, I probably have your attention now. For those that don’t get the appeal, you should still check out the site because the graphics are adorable and the quests are amazing motivation.

See, your writing isn’t just words on the screen. It is a weapon to be wielded against a menagerie of monsters. You start in Luciola Forest and have to complete quests to get out. Quests are completed by fighting certain monsters that drop items.


Wignow of Mama Tree

The monsters are beaten by writing a certain number of words within a time limit. Like a Wignow needs 250 words in 30 minutes to beat him. A Rudakai needs 1,700 words, but you have 340 minutes (around 5.5 hours). The harder the monster, the better the drops.


Rudakai of Luciola Forest





Eventually you fight your way out of Luciola Forest to move on to Mama Tree. And there actually is a storyline to follow. Something about dust infecting the forest, and I honestly wasn’t paying attention because I wanted to get to the next quest. But there is a story.

Along the way, you collect armor and weapons that affect your three stats. The higher your Attack stat, the fewer words you actually need to type to win. The higher your Defense stat, the more time you get to finish the battle. And the higher your Luck stat, the more items the monster drops.

There’s a lot more going on with stores, banks, crafting, and locksmiths. There’s also leaderboards and a great forum with a lot of fun, supportive player-writers (and I’m not saying that because I’m a moderator).


Untu pirate

Right now we have a Camp NaNoWriMo event going on–an Untu hunt. There’s a special zone with monsters that only come out during NaNo. They have their own quests that earn you special prizes.

All of this may sound ridiculous to some of you, but I am here to tell you that it works. The graphics are adorable and suck you right in. The word count goals for each monster make it feel as if you accomplished something concrete when you defeat a monster. The quests keep you wanting to fight more. And more battles means more words.

For me, the leaderboards have been a huge source of motivation. Staying on the “battle” board for most wins, keeps me fighting one more monster. And keeping my streak going, has me coming back every day. Just this year, I’ve written 125k words and haven’t missed a single day.


Core Crystal

The only caveat is that the site cost money. You get a 30 day free trial, and then you have to pay $4/month. Honestly, the site is well worth the money. And if you won NaNoWriMo in November, there’s a code in your winner’s goodies to get a 60% discount.

If you do decide to sign up, use this referral code: WVBIY23608. When you eventually buy your first month subscription (because you will want to), you’ll get an extra 20 Core Crystals which are used to pay for subscriptions and a few in-game items. A month’s subscription is 44 Core Crystals which cost $4 (US). Oh, and I’ll get some Core Crystals as well (which I appreciate).

At the least, it’s worth checking out with your free trial. Battle a few monsters, finish a few quests, and visit the forums where I’ll be hanging out. I’m justanotherjen there.


I hope to see you soon. And happy hunting.

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