Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writer's Block Remedies... Tip #3

TIP #3: Write or Die

I so hope you've heard of Write or Die.  It is the perfect - and I mean PERFECT - remedy for the kind of writer's block I call Cyberspaceship Disorder

Long story short: you enter your desired word count and then select the amount of time you want to achieve it in.  Select how harsh you want the application to be and hit the "Write!" button.  You'll find yourself facing a screen to type on.  If you stray from the screen you are, in effect, yelled at.  If it takes you too long to write a word, you're punished.  When you hit your desired word count, I'm telling you it's like a fresh piece of birthday cake!  Seriously.  Then, copy and paste it into your own document and make your edits from there.

These are the consequences that you select before you start:
  • Gentle Mode: If you pause from writing for too long, a box pops up to remind you that you need to continue.
  • Normal Mode: If you pause for too long, a really unpleasant sound/song is played.  It only stops when you start typing again!
  • Kamikaze Mode: If you stop writing, your work gets deleted.
I recommend Normal Mode.  The songs they play to "yell" at you are extremely annoying and keep you really focused.  I definitely say skip the Kamikaze Mode - your work really does unwrite itself if you take too long to type, and it's infuriating and can (in my case at least) cause a person to give up on what they're working on.

You also choose from three "Grace Period" options: Forgiving, Strict, or Evil.  These periods correlate to the length of time you are allotted without typing anything.  I usually go with the Forgiving option.  Sometimes I need a moment to think quickly through the next scene, so a little bit more time between typing is needed.

One of the things that I really enjoy with Write or Die, is that while I'm typing I absolutely can't surf the Internet - or tweet - or catch up on my much needed celebrity gossip... BUT, since it's timed, when it's over I give myself a break and skim whatever sites I feel like. Then it's back to Write or Die!

♥ me


  1. Wow--that sounds intense. I might have to try that once I'm out of revising mode--I'm curious to see if it would make a difference. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I loooove Write or Die, it makes me incredibly productive. And now that there's a downloadable desktop version so that I can use it away from the distraction of the internet, it's even better. Definitely worth the ten bucks it costs.

  3. Okay, so I went to the Write or Die page, but all I could get myself to do was install the Write or Die widget on my blog. Cluck, cluck cluck, cluck cluck.

  4. I like Write or Die in 20 minute increments. I can bang out 400 words in 20 minutes pretty easily. Then 10 minutes of Twitter and/or blogs. It's a pretty good model for me!

    I'm working up to getting the desktop version, so I can lock myself out of the internet for a half hour or more at a time...

  5. Shannon - it IS intense! You wouldn't think you'd let some dumb application scare you into sticking with it, but it so does.

    Cristin - I haven't downloaded it yet, but I plan to... Now that I'm (finally) out of a "can't. stop. procrastinating." slump, I may be ready to fork over the $10, haha.

    Carol - don't be scared! It's your friend :-)

    Simon - I love the increment - break - increment - break method also.

    The only thing I forgot to say was that I have to take a few minutes before starting WoD to think about the direction I want to go (it doesn't have to be a complete thought, just a starting point at least) - otherwise I stare at the screen and blank out!

  6. Wow, Kamikaze mode sounds intense! I'm curious, how long are the "pause" periods before warning noises or *gulp* work deletion?!

  7. That not being able to surf the intrawebz thing is appealing. I love to procrastinate. It is a huge vice. I think I'll have to try this badboy out! Anything that may help me break the procrastination habit is a good thing. :)

    Happy writing!

  8. I've heard of Write or Die and it sounds scary to me. Nothing like being under the gun!! (And yes, that pun was totally intended!)

    I just finished an MS, so I need a new idea now. Maybe I'll try it, hopefully without major injury!

    Thanks Sara!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  9. I had the same problem as Carolina. Could only install a widget. Informative post as always :)


Yay! I love when you have things to add :)