Saturday, July 9, 2011

Review of

So I've been on the NaNoWriMo forums a lot lately, as I'm doing this whole Camp NaNo thing.  That's where I found, and also where I found Write or Die.

The whole premise behind the site is to set a time limit and a word goal, to to write for that set amount of time while being prodded by the website as an incentive to keep going.  There are consequences and grace periods, or what happens if you take too long and to what setting you want 'too long' to be.  The entire point of the site is, as stated in the title, to write or die.  It has various unpleasant things happen on the screen when you've taken too long to write something down, from changing the color of the background to loud noises.

The writing space itself is a plain white area for text, and the only real complaint I have with it is how it screws up my formatting whenever I try to copy from the 'done' screen and paste it to my document, but that's mainly because I'm one of those people who puts two spaces between each sentence.

So.  I think that this is a very good site.  I've talked about those 'NaNoWriMos' and how that whole subculture isn't really my thing, and this tool is a very good way to sum up the entire NaNo experience - quantity over quality.  What inevitably happens when you're writing and panicked about something happening on the screen is hurried, not well thought out writing.  But in November (and now, during 'camp') it's always about getting the words down first, and straightening them out later, if ever.  For that reason alone I was hesitant to start using the site as a tool.  But there is a very good point in this somewhere, about just getting the words down, no matter what they are.  Using Write or Die, in Normal mode using a 'scrict' grace period, I can write 1000 words in twenty minutes.  I can do this without the application of a web site, I'm sure, but this is the first place I've learned that I can do this thing.  They might not be the best words, but after I paste them to my openoffice document and play around with them for a bit, I have 1000 more words than I would have otherwise.

My advice, for normal, non-frenzied writing,  is to tone down the grace period.  Having something happen when you've been sitting watching a blinking cursor for too long is really great motivation to make sure that you're constantly putting words on the page.  They might not be the best words, but once they're there it makes it a lot easier to go back and fix them.

There's also an offline version of the application that I am considering getting but haven't decided on yet.  The site is great, and has been one of the reasons I've been writing so much lately, but it's also mentally exhausting to keep it up for too long.  I'll report back if I decide to take the plunge.

Thanks for stopping by, and see you later!

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