Interesting idea, but it’s not on my Christmas list

November 25, 2011 – Writer’s beware!

If you’re not spending enough time in front of your computer crafting your version of the Great American Novel, here is a little something that promises to keep you motivated.

Write or Die software claims it helps writers put the “prod” back in productivity. The Web application encourages writers who have a tendency to avoid writing to keep going and going and going. And if you don’t, prepare to suffer the consequences.

Of course, you set those consequences by entering your goals and choosing the amount of suffering to bestow upon yourself if you don’t keep up the pace. Your choices: “gentle mode”, an instant message reminder to keep going, “normal mode”, which continuously plays unpleasant sounds until you start again, or “Kamikaze mode”, for the bravest of the brave, which threatens to delete everything you’ve written if you don’t get started again immediately.

So, if you use this tool to help you keep writing, no longer will you wander off into a daydream or bothered by any distractions. However, I would rather have one good paragraph and lots of interesting daydreams that may inspire me than pages of dribble I typed just because I didn’t want to get snagged by Write or Die (sorry NaNoWriMonth, which shares the same quantity over quality concept).

Here’s a thought; if you’re not writing, perhaps it’s for a reason. Writing should be a positive experience, and if you have to feel shamed into doing it, you need to look for another passion. As clever as Write or Die might seem on the surface, it removes the fun and emotion and turns writing into a task. And that’s something I always try to avoid.

So if you’re out there shopping for the perfect present for me on this Black Friday, take a pass on this one.

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