Publishing

Write Track: This social tracker helped one author make the Man Booker longlist

By Kitty Knowles 2 August 2016
Summary

Everyone has a book in them, could Write Track help make yours a reality?

The Man Booker Prize is one of the most hotly anticipated awards of the literary calendar – it’s an incredible accomplishment to even be nominated.

This year, you may have already seen Wyl Menmuir’s debut novel The Many in our picks from the esteemed Man Booker 2016 longlist.

What you didn’t know, is that this gripping moody book may not have even existed if it weren’t for a new online tool called Write Track.

The Memo caught up with Wyl Menmuir and Write Track co-founder Chris Smith to find out more…

Chris Smith with co-founder

Making a Man Booker nominee

Receiving a nomination for the Man Booker prize has been a “whirlwind” says Menmuir:

“How do I feel? Elated. Utterly elated.”

But there’s no way he could have completed The Many so swiftly and successfully without Write Track.

“I think I would have given into one of the hundreds of other temptations on offer several times if I hadn’t received my reminders and comments from other authors,” he says.

What is Write Track?

Write Track was created because writers Chris Smith and Bec Evans saw that the difference between the writers who were and weren’t succeeding wasn’t just about talent.

“Successful authors have talent in spades, but they also have something else – grit and perseverance,” explained Smith.

So, in the same way that habit-forming fitness gadgets like RunKeeper and FitBit keep people committed to sports, Smith and Evans decided to help people develop a habitual writing practice.

This turned into Write Track: an online platform that supports and connects its writerly users.

You start by setting a writing goal, track your progress against that goal, and then use data to help change your behaviour for better writing.

“In short, it helps them finish what they start,” Smith says.

Writing The Many with Write Track.

For Menmuir, Write Track has been invaluable.

“There were a few times while I was writing The Many when I really didn’t feel like writing at all, but Write Track served as a reminder of the objectives I’d set for myself – to write 500 words a day, five times a week.”

Other times he found solace in the community element of the platform – where a comment from another writer would give him the boost to pick up the pen again.

“There’s a terrible lie that I believed for a long time that novels are the product of the author alone, when in reality there are so many other people involved,” he explained.

For Smith and Evans, Menmuir’s Man Booker success has also been a rewarding proof of concept. Of course, not every Write Track writer will make the Man Booker longlist.

“Many will have different goals,” say the pair, “but we do hope that every writer will be inspired by Wyl’s persistence, by his success and by his story.”

Books and writing can change the world – when will you start writing yours?

Read more: 6 health-inspired stories that stir the mind: The Wellcome Book Prize 2016

Read more: Novellic: Bringing the book club into the digital age

Read more: Three very British books: Our picks from the Man Booker longlist