Killer Online Resource: Write or Die
For anyone who has ever wished for an onsite coach to keep them focused during a writing stint, your dream (or nightmare) has come true. Meet Write or Die from Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab. You select a target word count or time duration, as well as the strictness level you desire, and begin typing in the writing box. If you stop typing — perhaps because you started surfing the web or checking Facebook — Dr. Wicked will unleash a systematic “reminder” arsenal to get you back to the page and start typing. At his most evil, Dr. Wicked will actually start erasing what you’ve written — which should certainly be a negative enough consequence that you won’t let it happen!
When you’ve reached your goal, you can copy and paste your text into a Word document, or use the program’s clipboard function.
This web application is FABULOUS. Not to mention hysterical. And great for NaNoWriMo participants who need a shot in the arm. Even Natalie Goldberg would approve, I’m sure. From the Write or Die website:
Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences….A tangible consequence is more effective than an intangible reward.
If I don’t write stories for class, I will receive scorn from my teacher and a bad grade in the class. If I don’t write my own stories I am only disappointing myself. I experience perpetual disappointment in myself so I’m kind of used to it. Add to that the fact that I simply have neither the self-discipline to write consistently on my own nor the capacity for self-deception that would enable me to create artificial deadlines. That is how Write or Die was born.
The idea is to instill in the would-be writer with a fear of not writing. We do this by employing principles taught in Introduction to Psychology. Anyone remember operant conditioning and negative reinforcement?
Negative reinforcement “strengthens a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior.” Consequences:
- Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
- Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
- Kamikaze Mode: Keep writing or your work will unwrite itself.
These consequences will persist until your preset conditions have been met (that is, your time is up or you’ve written you wordcount goal or both).
This text box is not a word processor, it is not for editing, the way to save is to select all of the text, copy and paste into your own text editor. The idea is to separate the writing process and the editing process as much as possible.
This is aimed at anyone who wants to get writing done. It requires only that you recognize your own tendency towards self-sabotage and be willing to do something about it. If you’re sick of saccharine writing advice that no one could honestly follow and you want a real method to getting work done.
See for yourself! And thanks in advance, Dr. Wicked.