I’m writing this on “Write or Die” by Dr. Wicked.  The goal with this thing is to have a word count goal (any goal you want to put in) and a timer.  I put 200 words in ten minutes.  Then the program does, well, we’ll find out here soon, in order to help you get going and write.  I’m playing with it to write this blog post, curious to see what it does.

When you put in your word count and time limit, it takes you to another screen.  This new screen is white with a word processing box in the middle.  You write in the box and it automatically counts the words to make sure you’re working on your goal.  The word count of your current page and the countdown timer are located at the bottom of the screen – out of sight unless you scroll down to see them.  This gives you the opportunity to watch your progress or ignore it, depending on what you find most helpful. 

The best part: if you’re not actively typing, it gets mad.

For instance, if I let it sit still long enough for me to quick check another browser tab, the background turns red.  When I start typing again, the background goes back to white.  If I ignore the red background, then it starts emitting a sound (in my case, it was a cartoonish baby crying “wahhhhh” type noise).  Merely typing a letter or hitting an arrow key is enough to make the crying stop.

Once you’ve hit your word count goal, the screen warnings stop – this is apparently when you’re allowed to rethink anything you’ve written, read it, reread it, or just keep on keeping on (with the writing, of course). 

I think this type of tool works well for a couple of reasons.  If you need some kind of pressure, however artificially induced, in order to write, this is a good way to get started.  It’s also really good for writer’s block – if you’re blocked and having a hard time getting going, the best thing to do is write.  This program will make sure you write *something*, however inane, until real thoughts get going in your head.  Writing really does beget writing.

Try the link if you’re having a hard time getting going on a project.  It could be helpful. I’ll put a link to it on the sidebar of my blog so that it’ll always be easy to find.