‘WRITE OR DIE’ AND OTHER SAGE WORDS OF ADVICE

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The Guardian profiles a series of computer applications meant to motivate authors through the doldrums of writer’s block.

‘Write or Die’ (whose slightly menacing slogan is “putting the ‘Prod’ back in Productivity”) deletes your writing if you pause for more than forty-five seconds, while apps like ‘Freedom’ effectively shut down modes of procrastination, prohibiting you from viewing sites of refuge like Twitter and Facebook. Other applications take an opposite approach, rewarding your hard work with a momentary sense of reprieve. For instance, ‘Written? Kitten!’ sends you a new picture of a kitten every hundred words. British novelists Helen Oyeyemi and Stella Duffy weigh in on the matter, with the latter making the sound argument: “all useful, none make any difference at all if you’re not going to stay sitting and work!”


Hannah Kingsley-Ma is a recent graduate of Kenyon College currently working and writing in San Francisco. More from this author →