Write or Perish, part II

A few days back I threw a quick post out titled Write or Perish. Today, a friend introduced me to Write or Die, a web app that delivers a swift kick to the literary pants of weak-willed time wasters like myself. I’m no glutton for punishment, but I may have to make this a part of my daily sit-down so that I can better avoid that most dangerous habit of editing as I write.

There is a downloadable version that’s $10, but the app is free on the webpage here.

Here’s the introduction from the site. I love the calm but vaguely menacing tone.

Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences.

The idea is to instill in the would-be writer with a fear of not writing. We do this by employing principles taught in Introduction to Psychology. Anyone remember Operant Conditioning and Negative Reinforcement?

Negative Reinforcement “strengthens a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior.”


  • Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
  • Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
  • Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself

These consequences will persist until your preset conditions have been met (that is, your time is up or you’ve written you wordcount goal or both).

This text box is not a word processor, it is not for editing, the way to save is to select all of the text, copy and paste into your own text editor. The idea is to separate the writing process and the editing process as much as possible.

This is aimed at anyone who wants to get writing done. It requires only that you recognize your own tendency towards self-sabotage and be willing to do something about it. If you’re sick of saccharine writing advice that no one could honestly follow and you want a real method to getting work done.

  • Works great for real deadlines too!
  • Excellent for getting your 1667 words a day for NaNoWriMo
  • Good for writing on lunch breaks, just enter 30 minutes in the time limit box

2 thoughts on “Write or Perish, part II

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