Thursday, February 3, 2011
Write or Die
A student came by yesterday for a conference and happened to tell me about a web site, writeordie.com. Which is actually what I used to draft this post. It's a pretty simple concept. You set yourself a time limit and a goal of then a certain number of words. (I chose ten minutes to come up with 200 words.) The site provides you with a text box with a timer and word count at the bottom. If you don't keep typing, the screen goes from pink to red to darker red, and then a horn starts to blare, and eventually the program starts erasing the words you have already typed. It's basically a way of forcing yourself to write, leaning more heavily on sticks than carrots.
It's been almost two months since I've posted anything on Throughlines and I knew I needed some kind of a kick in the pants to get myself started again. So this is as good a start as any, I guess. I gave myself ten minutes to come up 200 words. Right now I've got four and a half minutes left 34 words to go, so unless I run off the rails and into a rock wall I'll probably make it. Then I can go ahead and post this and say to myself, there, it's done.
At least the first draft — of exactly 200 words until I started editing it — was done. Then I just copied what I wrote there into the Blogger window, proofread and tidied up.
Well, it served the purpose, and I can see it would be a cool tool in certain situations. There's something a little franticness-inducing about typing while keeping an eye on a timer. The experience reinforced for me how much stop and go, how much thinking and re-thinking I normally do while I'm writing. Often, it's actually a kind of meditation practice. This time, it didn't feel like that.
Posted by Bruce Schauble at 12:47 PM