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Using Apps to Overcome Writer’s Block

July 4, 2014 0 Comments
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Write or Die Is a Lot Like Being Chased By MonstersI just tried out this tool on a website called Write or Die (http://writeordie.com/) as I have been trying to get over some writer’s block I’ve been experiencing lately. I took the challenge to write 500 words in less than 15 minutes. Write or Die features a “consequence mode” that kicks in whenever your writing slows down or you pause a bit too long; the consequences can be severe. As I furiously typed and just let the words flow I felt like I was being chased! Seriously.

I managed to complete the 500 word challenge (everything you write doesn’t count BTW) in about 13 minutes but, HOLY SHIT!, am I hyper engaged right now! I’ve been writing non-stop now for an additional 20 minutes.

That feeling of being chased because of the countdown timer and the need to keep writing to avoid consequence was effective! Despite everything that was going on around me (the sound of 2 different childrens videos blaring from iPads, my daughters carrying on and 3 new private message notifications via Facebook sounding on my phone) I managed to stay focused.

“Please, Write or Die, stop with those awful noises and turn my screen white again – that blood-red color is horrific!” 

“Then start typing, boy!”

I can’t wait to use that tool again, but this next time my plan is to have a more poignant topic picked out ahead of time.

It is proven that making it a habit to just sit down to write (writing about anything at all) you will become more productive. So, if you are trying to build your “writing muscles” or overcome writer’s block, this is the tool for you.

Hahahaha. I need something to calm down now!

Want to know what I furiously banged out, unprepared and completely ad lib? This (uncut and unedited) bit of literary genius[sic] ensued:

Sitting down to write can be a daunting experience for anyone that does not write regularly. There are so many things to write about but who really cares about the subject you’ve selected? What does one write about and how does that positively affect what you really want to do with your time? Holy smokes! This screen turns an awful shade of red if you slow down much! I suppose that is a great way to get you writing again if you dislike the color.

So, back to the topic. I’d really like to write more often but the problem is avoiding the distractions like my daughters, my wife and, of course, fucking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and that silly metric that haunts my life called Klout!

Perhaps just picking a topic and digging in with a tool like Write or Die 2 is an effective way to “get shit done?”

I should ask a few other writers what they think about this site or if they’ve used Write or Die to positive effect. I’m afraid that instead of actually becoming a productive author [again] I will instead get PTSD from the shock of the consequences that appear if I am not writing fast enough!

That would suck!

At this point I’ve written 308 words of my 500 word goal and have 9 minutes and 20 seconds left! Time is flying by but I have to believe that I’ve written way more than 249 words at this point.

Yikes!

I wonder if being put under the gun like this is better than buying a software application that would just block me from accessing the offending websites? Would I, instead, find other websites to replace them in my avoidance of getting anything done?

Which really brings me to the crux of my writing problem: Am I too easily distracted or am I actively avoiding being productive?

Of course, this raises other more serious questions like, “What am I afraid of?” or “How awesome would my life be if I actually committed to focusing on the several promising projects I have in front of me right now?”

Shit! What am I avoiding??? (If, of course, I am avoiding anything at all.)

Now, I have 136 words left to complete in under 4 minutes and 30 seconds. This doesn’t look promising but I will press on in this attempt to beat the clock.

I am a winner like that.

I can do this!

God, I sound like a self help guru but I must trudge forward and continue to kick ass or the consequence engine of Write or Die might start removing all of the vowels from this diatribe; a complete “disenvowlement”!

How evil!!!

Fifty four words left and two minutes and thirty seconds left!

I did learn something new here, however, if I spell out my numbers I actually get credit for them whereas when I was just typing the number I would not!

Damn it!

I am getting close and it feels like I am being chased!

Finished with one minute and 30 seconds left!

Whew. I made it.

Filed in: Advice • Tags: ,

About the Author:

L. Scott Harrell is a noted private investigator, startup founder and mentor. His passion lies in competitive business strategies and being an insatiable entrepreneurial animal.

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