(Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.)
I came across an interesting review on Stuff the other day – it’s for an app called Write Or Die. The basic idea is simple: it nags you to write. You get to choose the target (number of words or elapsed time), and the punishment (ranging from gentle nudges to the altogether more alarming extreme of words you’ve already written deleting themselves if you stop or pause for too long). You can either have it as a downloaded desktop (or iPad/iPhone/etc app) for a fee, or use the free web-based version (although you then have to remember to copy it from the browser and paste it into a document of your own before you quite the browser … I can almost hear the screams of anguish).
I am very, very tempted by it. Being the world-class procrastinator that I am. Of course you have to actually fire the programme up in the first place, so it doesn’t entirely replace the need for some sort of self-generated impetus. (Do I mean impetus? Quick check … yep, I do. Hooray!) (And did anyone else spot the nifty bit of self-distraction there?) And it wouldn’t work for the way I write poetry, which is almost completely longhand, and with a very large amount of the time spent staring off into the middle distance, tapping syllables on my knee (which can recognise iambic tetrameter all by itself now), and muttering all manner of ungodly things. All of which would fail to register as “writing in progress” as far as the programme was concerned.
BUT … I do write articles directly onto the computer. And haibun. And blog posts. And quite often my reviews. And I do have a real habit of just not quite managing to make myself sit down and start writing them. Yes, the revision takes quite a long time too. But it’s that initial hurdle of sitting down and writing something – anything! – that I can shape into the appropriate form later. (Admission – I usually have to print the thing out, and then scribble on the paper. Paperless Office? Only when I run out.) Even on the computer, I do still seem to be able to get that magical link between words unspooling themselves in front of me and some sort of insight that I certainly didn’t have before the words started flowing. So it can and does happen. So maybe Write Or Die will be something that can help me get some sort of writing routine re-established, even if only for the peripheral stuff. And maybe it could be something to get me off my backside and back into trying to write my PHdDFNisoP, or at least some sort of fiction. Maybe even NaNoWriMo? (Hah! This from the woman who still hasn’t finished 75% of the poems she started in NaPoWriMo three years ago!)
Anyone else tried anything of this sort?