Got to write this post fast -- I'm using Dr. Wicked's Writing Lab's "Write or Die" program. What is it? Simply the stick to go with the carrot of creative writing, that's all. This ingenious web app lets you set a time limit and a word count.
And then you'd better start typing because the clock's running. the idea is to inject a sense of urgency into writing that normally isn't there (resulting in either incomplete projects or ones that take far too long to finish). Dr. Wicked knows that most people work best when deadlines are applied externally -- and this web app does just that. So what happens if you don't finish the given amount of words in the time allotted?
All kinds of negative reinforcement (of your own choosing). You can simply have a message appear, or an irritating sound effect continues non-stop until you hit the writing goal, or..... worse.
I've participated in the National Novel Writing Month contest and having a deadline helped keep my word count up. But for shorter writing projects, sometimes my enthusiasm flags. Watching a timer tick away as my word count rises really helps keep me focused and on task. And the negative feedback doesn't hurt, either. I don't want to hear that sound, and so I'll keep typing away (I can always edit later).
Whether you're writing for fun, or to become a great author someday, or just because your work demands that you do, Dr. Wicked's evil little web app can be just the thing to dissolve that writer's block. I expect my productivity to rise... or else!
And the best part is that you can send out a notice when you've completed your task, showing how many words you wrote in what amount of time. Why is that good? You get to share your success with your peers -- which is a nice bit of positive reinforcement (as well as the nice widget that you get when you finish -- check out mine below).
Well done, Dr. Wicked!