App claims to cure writer's block by sabotage, but does it work?
Need to knuckle down on your work? Well, an iOS app claims to cure procrastination by performing increasing levels of annoying acts on your text unless you comply.
The Write or Die app – with the superb tag line “putting the ‘prod’ in productivity” – aims to instil fear in those whose work is slacking.
The app, created by the requisitely-named ‘Dr. Wicked’, carries the frankly scary introduction: “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.” Yikes.
In an interview with the Guardian earlier this week, author Helen Oyeyemi singled out Write or Die as a vital tool in writing her novel Mr. Fox, saying that “sometimes, fear is the only motivator”.
So what punishment does Write or Die dish out, then?
Write or Die has three settings. In “gentle” mode a pop-up appears reminding the user that they haven’t typed in so many seconds. In “normal”, an annoying sound continuously plays, only ceasing when work commences.
But “kamikaze” mode is the most interesting, with the app actually deleting previously written text after a sustained period of inactivity.
Evidently Write or Die works for some people, but if fear isn’t a man’s best friend, are there any alternatives?
Written? Kitten! (below) was created in response to Write or Die but “cuter and fuzzier”, according to its creators. For every 100 words inputted to their text box, a picture from Flickr’s photostream tagged with “cute” and “kitten” appears adjacent to the text.
But which method suits you, the carrot or the stick? Would either of these apps aid your procrastination, or would you eventually become immune to kitten-like cuteness or Write or Die’s evil box of tricks?
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