Trauma Happy Finance: Write or Die 2 – Puppy or Spider?

Write or Die 2 by Dr. Wicked

Welcome to Fridays here at Trauma Happy Finance!

On Fridays I like to share a cool thing that I love. Sometimes it’s a website, an app, or maybe a book.

Today the thing I’m sharing reminds me daily how much motivation I can get from negative consequences.

I won my first National Novel Writing Month, commonly abbreviated as NaNoWriMo, on November 30, 2016. Before I started my journey to write 50,000 words in a 30 days, I looked into what writing software others had used. I had Word, TextEdit, and Notes, but I wanted something that was focused on getting writing done. But I admit that I also fell into the trap of starting a hobby and wanting to buy all the shiny toys that I’ve convinced myself I need to get started. I wanted to come in (over) prepared so I looked at a few articles with lists of NaNoWriMo-targeted software.  Many of the recommendations were focused on organization and assembling the final product that would be your novel. Software like Scrivener or Ulysses came up often, but those seemed like writing records when all I wanted was a chord to start.

Then I came across Write or Die 2 by Dr. Wicked. This app uses negative reinforcement (with optional positive reinforcement) to motivate you to just put words on the screen.

By default, the app is set up for you to suffer the consequences of a blood red screen, awful noise, and a scary spider after 15 seconds of no writing. You are free to edit the length of time you are going to write, your word count goal for the session, and if you want to relax or shorten the 15 second buffer before the consequences kick in. At the 10 second mark of no writing, the screen starts to redden and once it reaches peak-red, a horrible noise plays and a spider comes out! The only way to stop the redness and the horrible noise and to make the spider go away is to write the first thing that comes into your head. The goal of the app is to stop letting your Inner Editor interrupt your Inner Writer’s flow just to fix spelling or adjust phrasing or wait for the perfect word to come to you.

Think of your brain as a car. There’s only one driver’s seat and one steering wheel. You can’t have both your Inner Editor and Inner Writer drive at the same time. The negative consequences emphatically motivate you to let your Inner Writer just drive. You’ve got all the time in the world to fix the typo or adjust your tone. But getting words down first is the most important thing.

The app’s interface puts your session stats in an easy to glance place on the right-hand side. Your word counter ticks up and the countdown timer goes down. There’s a toggle setting to show your average words per minute if you want to get a sense of how fast you’re going. You can also reward yourself for achieving your word goal before time runs out with a picture of a puppy.

Another optional setting that I’ve come to love is ‘Typewriter Mode’. This mode turns your computer into an old school typewriter where a backspace key does not exist. There is only forward. So if you beef a word, you just let it go and keep on writing. You’ll know what you meant when you go back to it later. But right now, in this moment, you’re writing.

Write or Die 2 for Mac is $20. And is a big part of why I’m a NaNoWriMo 2016 winner.

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