Saturday, September 10, 2011

Write or Die - a cure for Bloggers' Block?

Do you have Bloggers' Block?

Are you finding it hard to discipline yourself to get down to it and write that post you know you have to get up?

Do you have a deadline looming?

Well, thanks to author Keris Stainton for pointing this out last night, you might find Write or Die a useful tool.

I don't think it actually does kill you - although, to be fair, I haven't actually tested its limitations. The screen rapidly turning from white to pink to scary red has been enough to concentrate my mind so far.

Mind you, I could just walk away..........

Ah, now I see what the die bit means. It literally starts to delete your hard work. It's the words that die, not you. That's a relief. But not if you've just come out with a brilliant turn of phrase that you might forget if it disappears.

So, you kind of have to keep going.

I am hoping to do NaNoWriMo this November. This is the thing I discovered on the first day of November last year, when it was really too late to plan. You basically have to write a 40,000 word novel in 30 days. That'll be 1667 words per day.  The idea is that you just keep going. You don't stop to edit or procrastinate. You just get on with it.

Keris secured herself a two book deal from one of her NaNoWriMo novels so it's definitely worth doing. And Keris' books Della says OMG and Jessie Hearts NYC are definitely worth reading. I don't think I'm anywhere near publishable yet, but I want to try different ways to develop as a writer and this sounds like it might help me.

I did start NaNoWriMo last year and Anna loves what I produced, but it lies, unfinished on my hard drive.

That brings me back to Write or Die. I am writing. And I am sticking to the topic. However, the one thing it can't do is force me to write about what I'd planned to write about.

How many times have you been distracted from that blog post you know you really want to write but you can't quite think how to express an idea?  So you get distracted. You write about something else. You look at the news, you switch on the news channel, you look at what a blogger you always disagree with is saying. You google Nadine Dorries. No, I have never, ever done that - really.

Write or Die will get the words out, but it won't necessarily get the right words out.

You can choose various levels of strictness. Kamikaze literally gives you seconds of procrastination before it starts eating your hard thought out words. I set myself a target of 500 words in 30 minutes, which I thought was kind of reasonable for a post I didn't have to research. I've got to 423 in 11 minutes.

There are more lenient levels of strictness. The Kamikaze level is, if truth be known, making me feel just a little bit breathless and the adrenaline has kicked in. I'm not so sure that's sustainable for too long.

However, now that I know about this, I will use it. There is a desktop version that you can buy for $10 but the online version is, and apparently always will be, free.

Have a look and see what you think.


Paul Edie said...

While I understand the block issue and also being distracted dying seems a little extreme as a reaction.

Might I suggest a nice cup of tea and a slice of victoria sponge. It sorts most problems out and the rasberry jam in the sponge must count as one fo your five a day!

oneexwidow said...

I'm going to have to look at that...

I've often thought about trying NaNoWriMo and I've thought about it a couple of times over the past couple of weeks - not sure I'll manage it this year, though.

Unknown said...

Paul, I'd be inclined to go for Lemon Drizzle cake - you get vitamin C:-).

Andy, let me know what you think of it.


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