Why we made Prolifiko — a digital coach for writing

I used to run a residential centre for writing in the UK. Each year we’d welcome hundreds of people through the doors to be taught how to write by famous and accomplished authors, scriptwriters, business writers and poets.

Each week, the writers would leave inspired and with renewed commitment and firm plans in place to continue.

Whilst some could find a solid writing routine away from the writing centre, many could not. When they returned to their normal lives, lack of confidence kicked in, procrastination took hold — their intentions faded and their writing ground to a halt.

What separated the students who could and couldn’t find a routine wasn’t a lack of talent, creativity or ambition. It was a lack of process, self-belief and confidence.

Tracking habits

At about the same time, myself and my co-founder Chris — who at the time ran a copywriting and content consultancy — were both using Apple watches and FitBits to keep motivated with our fitness and health.

Setting ourselves goals, daily step counts and tracking our exercise was really working. It got us thinking. We asked whether there was anything similar to these health habit trackers but for creative pursuits and specifically — writing.

Whilst there were — and are — many different types of great generic habit trackers on the market, there was nothing specifically geared to writers. Whilst these trackers could be used for writing, they weren’t made by writers for writers.

So, we decided to take our years of experience of working with writers to build a product just for them — applying the same kind of persuasive design used in fitness apps to helping people overcome their writing barriers.

Human-sized problem

We’ve always believed that writing is a deeply human activity and increasingly, an important skill to master.

We’ve also always believed that whatever type of writing you want to do, there’s no great secret to it, other than keeping going, persisting and learning.

We built Prolifiko to give people the confidence, structure and motivation they need to achieve their potential and realize their dreams and ambitions.

So, after building several prototypes and iterating our MVPs we developed Prolifiko, a pocket-sized productivity coach for writing. It’s trying to tackle a problem that’s preventing many people from achieving their writing dreams.

So how does Prolifiko work?

Prolifiko takes a science-first approach to helping people meet their writing goals and it works because it’s based in research from neuroscience and behavioural psychology. Its design has four key elements:

Micro step-setting

Using Prolifiko, you approach your large writing project step-by-step so you’re always focused on the next small task to do, not the large scary project you have to complete. When you approach any large task incrementally, research proves that you bypass the mental alarm bells that can lead to procrastination, overwhelm and inaction.

Tracking for motivation

Using Prolifiko, we ask people to track their writing progress on a calendar and to make a short personal record of how that particular writing session went. Over time, the simple act of logging your progress and having that progress shown to you in a fun, graphical way provides the motivation you need to keep going.

Reflect and learn

Another benefit of tracking and recording your progress means that over time, you start to spot patterns in your process. You start to see where, when and how you write best — when your most and least productive times are. Reflecting on your activity helps you to adapt and learn — so you improve over time.

Nudges, triggers and accountability

Finally, Prolifiko uses a combination of hooks, triggers and nudges to help people stay focused and moving forward with their writing. We also keep people accountable — both to themselves and to others — via our Facebook community.

Achieve writing dreams

There is no greater feeling than achieving long-held creative dreams. I have seen so many people transformed by the process of writing. And it’s the same for me — after a decade of writing articles and blogs my first book is being published this year.

Writing is a super-power.

We believe that that everyone should have the support they need to make progress on their personal projects and achieve their dreams.

Chris and I hope that Prolifiko will help people do just that.

Check out Prolifiko on Product Hunt and tell us what you think — we’d love to hear.