We all have those days, when smacking words on a page is the last thing we want to do. You open up a word document but find yourself on Facebook or Pinterest instead. Maybe you do write but that inner editor won’t shut up and you delete every sentence twelve times before going on to the next (only to repeat the process over again). As someone who has suffered from distracted brain and nasty writer’s blocks for years, here are some of my best apps to keep myself producing content.
(Cost: Free! available only on Mac)
Whenever I’m stuck on a scene I have an urge to ignore it and hop on Pinterest instead. While it is a hard thing to do, Self Control is the best app to combat that. You have two lists: a black and a white list. The blacklist means that you are only blocking a few sites (ex: Youtube, Facebook, and Pinterest). The white list means you block everything that is not on that list. After you chose your list and add the sites you wanna enable or block, you then pick a time. The shortest time you can set it for is 15 minutes and the longest is a day (best for finals week). It is a hard application to download but it will keep you from wasting even more time on Facebook. I mean, how many pictures of your high school friend’s baby are you going to look at before getting back to work?
(Cost: Free online version, download for $20 available on Windows/Mac/Linux/iPad/iPhone)
Self Control and Write or Die are some of my most used applications of all time. Now this one has just had a facelift (with the beta Write or Die 3, that is the image above) but I will be mainly talking about the old version (Write or Die 2) because that’s the one I own. This one comes with a long list of features but the main gist of the program is to keep you writing at a reasonable pace.
You set a word goal, speed goal, a grace period (how long you can idle for), and a timer. If, for whatever reason, you stop typing it will start flashing red and (if you set it to do so) it will start to delete your text. You can also set it to where it will show you happy images (for reaching your goals) or images you’d rather not see (mainly spiders). Nothing like the threat of a big ol’ spider on screen to get you moving. Once you’re done, you can copy and paste your work into a word document or just save it as a word document in the program itself. Again, if you prefer to be rewarded, then there are several settings for that, I just don’t use them so I can’t say much about them. I need that creepy spider to keep me going!
(Free internet program)
This is one that is rather early in development but I find it adorable and love using it from time to time for something new (and spider free). Fighter’s Block is a sort of cross between an RPG and Write or Die. Here you pick a character (currently only three options), a monster (currently only one), and a word goal. As long as you keep typing you will deal damage to the monster. If you stop, you start to drop health. Currently nothing really happens when you defeat a monster (besides you gaining some experience points to unlock another character) or when you die. But this is still a cute way to keep yourself writing and is definitely an application I will be watching for new updates.
(Internet program costing $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year)
I just recently found out about this program but I think I’m already in love. Do you struggle with an inner editor? One that tells you that everything you write is absolute garbage? Then ilys might be the exact program you need!
Basically, ilys only lets you see one letter at a time until you’ve reached your goal, and there’s not backspacing. It is a little off putting seeing nothing but a black screen and a letter, but it is a great way to force yourself to keep writing and force your inner editor into silence. It officially works better than the writing in a journal with a pen strategy (I can still cross out words or sections in pen, can’t do that in ilys).
I hope that these apps help you make your writing goals. If you have one that you like that I didn’t list here, leave the name and link in the comments below!