Write or Die – a productivity tool designed to overcome my personal writer’s faults.

EDIT: as of March 30th, 2014, I can no longer recommend the purchase of Write or Die or Write or Die 2. It appears that the developer has abandoned the products, even though he is still accepting payment. I’ve written more about my experience with both versions of the product HERE. If you’re thinking of buying it based on word of mouth or the functionality of the demo or previously purchased programs, please go read the new post first. 

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The following couple of paragraphs were composed (and I use that word loosely) in Write or Die! – a program I just paid ten bucks for, then downloaded from the interweb. I’ve been eyeing it for a few weeks, and I’m choosing to make the leap tonight, mainly because I am too tired to write the proper, themed post I had planned for the evening. I will do some more exploring after I take a nap, then edit this post to give more details. At this exact moment, though, I have to say that I think I might be in love.

I’m so tired that I’m beyond tired tonight. I’m typing this post in a new tool, called ‘Write or Die.’ It’s meant to provide the stick that so many writer environments fail to provide. If I stop typing, my screen turns red. If I continue to not type, I will hear an unpleasant sound. The program allows me to set any word count goal, to be achieved in any time frame that I set. I have to choose all the settings when I launch the program, then, when I hit the ‘Write!’ button, the program takes over the entire screen, which gives me a large, blank white surface on which to write. At the moment I’ve given myself 10 minutes to type 300 words. I believe the top (gray) line is showing me how close I am to my word goal. The lower line (red) is probably showing me how much time I have left. I was able to choose from three(?) different levels of difficulty: gentle, normal and kamikaze. (I chose normal.) I was also able to set a few other options. I am able to choose to disable the backspace key – which would kill me – for example. Right now I can’t remember what the other options were.

The program can also be used to participate in a ‘word war’. Apparently, I could link up with another writer for a predetermined amount of time and race against him or her. I’m looking forward to trying that, though I fully expect I will suck at it, because I tend to be an incredibly slow writer, who spends waaay too much time editing on the fly. I am currently feeling pressured, but not stressed, which is pretty awesome, now that I think about it. Ah, my screen just turned red for the second time– Oh! I just heard a fanfare! I guess I made the word count goal before the time ran out … and now there’s been a second fanfare, telling me, I assume, that I have been working steadily for the full ten minutes. Interestingly, in the lower left corner of my screen I now have a timer that is counting up.

Ok. First glitch. I believe that badge (which is uber cool) should be showing my numbers.

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4 Comments on “Write or Die – a productivity tool designed to overcome my personal writer’s faults.”

  1. Interesting software concept– the evil teacher in me wonders if I could use this on reluctant students. They might charge me with cruelty, though. You are brave to try this!

    • I keep trying to get my son to try it. He’s struggling with the same issues I have (over-editing in first draft, perfectionism) in his English 101 course. I’d be interested to hear if this kind of thing could help nip those common problems in the bud, if it’s introduced early enough.

  2. mistylayne says:

    Sounds like a neat program!


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