NaNoWriMo season is fast upon us, so as usual I have been scouring the web looking for awesome new tools to help me get the best out of the experience. I have been experimenting with the beta site Novlr for a few months now, and even though it is still in development, I believe it’s ready to be added to my resources list and given a decent review. Let’s check it out!
What is Novlr?
Novlr is a web-based writing tool by writers for writers. At first, it sounds a lot like many of the other writing sites out there–Yarny, Litlift, etc. Novlr offers a calm and distraction-free writing experience with intuitive organization, word-count goal options, and drag-and-drop chapter sections.
But it offers more than any other service I’ve tried. For one thing, Novlr saves progress offline. You read that right–if you’re writing, and the power goes out, you don’t need to worry about losing everything. Or if you’re on the road, you can pull Novlr up on your computer or device beforehand and write even without an Internet connection. I know that because I’ve done it, multiple times.
Exporting from Novlr is also a breeze. I get frustrated if I need to copy and paste my writing onto a Word document or export as a text file with no formatting, but Novlr has options! You can export as a text file, if you want, or copy and paste. Or you can export your work directly as a PDF file to share with readers. Or (my favorite!) you can export as a word document. This is like five tools in one.
Novlr has the best, friendliest customer service I’ve encountered for this kind of site–though that’s not saying much, considering my previous experiences. If you experience any issues, you can contact Novlr and one of the founders will respond within a day or two with suggestions or put it on their cue of things to fix. There are frequent updates to the system as well, and I’m always excited when I hear about a new feature that makes my experience that much better.
Another perk is that if you sign up now, it’s free. The plans of Novlr’s release and membership costs have changed a lot as they have dealt with numerous issues regarding their service, but I think the beta testing stage is coming to an end soon. Most recently, they’ve said that they will keep it free through November for writers who want to use it for NaNoWriMo. After that, I’m guessing it will probably be pretty pricey for all the features.
Why I’m Using Novlr This November
I’m picky about how and where I write my NaNo novels. I can’t risk losing access or accidentally deleting files, and at the same time I want a pleasant and simple writing experience that allows me to immerse myself fully in the story. Scrivener and Yarny have been my go-tos so far. Why am I switching this year?
- Dependability. Yarny has no customer service at all these days to my knowledge, and sometimes I think it honestly might drop off the web any day. I’d hate if that day were in the middle of a novel. Novlr has demonstrated that they care about their users and that they want to provide the best experience possible.
- Flexibility. I have at least one day-long trip planned for November, and I don’t want to miss out on writing because of a lack of Internet connection or because of not having a computer. I want to be able to work on my novel any time, any place–whether on my iPad in bed at two in the morning, at a friend’s house on a different computer, or while waiting for food at a restaurant. It’s easy with Novlr!
- Fun. I love new Novlr updates as they come out and am especially excited to see what features they have planned for November. I like having things to keep me on my toes!
Whether you’re taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo spree or not, I highly encourage that you take a look at this service while you can. Your future self will thank you for it.