Don’t stop writing, or your words will vanish off the page
The year is ending, and with it, an annual tradition of writing about x piece in x words. This year, that means trying to cram the year 2022 into 2,022 words. That’s quite a lot, as you can see. I usually write 5,000-6,000 words and then have to ruthlessly edit it down to try to hit my word cap. The challenge is to not get overwhelmed and relive all the highs, lows, and highlights of the year. It’s important to keep your fingers moving, no matter what. Recently, I discovered an app that does this, and I wanted to share it with you. It’s the season after all.
As a writer, you will often reach for the save button. It is your lifeline. All your hard work can be made to naught by a short power outage or computer glitch. But what if there was no save button? What if there wasn’t a save button? No need to stare out the window for inspiration, no time to think of a clever phrase or pause to take a breather? Imagine this: Instead of a boat, you are on a bus ? What if it explodes when you slow down? Well. Welcome to extreme writing.
This is the premise of the Most Dangerous writing App . Your writing will cease to exist if you stop writing for longer than a few seconds. If you are particularly slow about writing, it will be the end. Your words are lost forever in the digital ether. Don’t reach for your phone. Do not respond to a notification. If FedEX finally delivers the parcel you have been waiting for, don’t react.
The Most Dangerous Writing app is a great idea. It helps you stay focused and can be used as a tool to help you find and stay in your flow. The fear of the blank page disappears when you are forced to write a few words every second. Having to keep writing helps keep your feet on the ground.
In many ways, the app reminds me of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where you need to bang out a 50,000-word novel. Or something. I don’t know. I would normally Google it to verify the word count. But I can’t stop because I risk losing what I have written so far in this article if I open another tab. Argh! But okay, the point is that it’ll both help you start writing and actually force you to finish a piece as well. Because if you don’t finish it, it’s gone. That’s not what I want. Nobody wants that.
It’s not a very sophisticated app, but it’s a fun and surprising way to force yourself into writing. It made me rethink how I write. It also proved that I can write for five minutes straight, which is a beautiful gift to myself.
I am sure the TechCrunch editors are going to be thrilled that I wrote for five minutes straight, before hitting publish. I paused for just enough time to add links and a featured picture, but not long enough for an editor to correct my typos. Sorry, Henry.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.