The time before NaNoWriMo is pretty hectic, and all the more so for me. Lots and lots of people out there are searching for software to make their lives easier in the coming months, and people around the world are discovering Jer’s Novel Writer for the first time. What’s cool is that all these new users are discovering the rough edges in the software that regular users have grown accustomed to. It’s all the little things that make a product feel finished and fit, and in the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten a whole bunch of feedback. (Not all from NaNoWriMo folks, there are even professional writers using the program now, and their input even more valuable, as they try to make the software work in their existing processes. Overall, I have managed to attract a fairly passionate user base. Part of it, I think, is that I do all I can to make others feel that they are valued members of the design team, and people like seeing their ideas show up in the product — sometimes the next day.)
So I’ve been doing quite a bit of coding lately, and while none of the improvements have been earth-shattering, when taken in sum they add up to a better user experience. As I sit here in the Hut Treehouse, high in the crown of the teeming tropical rain forest for which this Prague neighborhood is well-known, surrounded by screeching birds and curious monkeys, I am filled with a sense of energy and I’m taking pride in fixing bugs hours after they are first reported.
Of course, that will end with the onset of November, or at least slow down, as we put up the monkey-screens and hunker down to write a novel. One unexpected side effect — from the user registrations I now have a list of a thousand names from all over the world that I can use in my writing. There are some pretty good ones in that list.