To follow up on last week’s post about the benefits of writing really, really awful first drafts, I want to share one of my favorite writing tools with you. If you are like me, you probably try to edit as you go along, writing and rewriting til you have each sentence as perfect as you can make it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a practice that will keep you from ever writing much of anything.
See, I never get each and every sentence perfect. Heck, I rarely get even one phrase perfectly perfect. I’m no Jane Austen, and the tragedy is that I recognize that. I know excellent writing when I see it – I just don’t know how to produce it on demand myself. And given the chance to tinker with my writing, I will happily vise and re-vise until I end up never actually writing anything. I feel a lot like dearest Oscar when he said, “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”
But luckily, I ran across a wonderful website recently, and I want to share it with you. Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die changed my life, and I bet it will change yours, too. It’s no big deal – it’s just a website that keeps track of your writing time or wordcount for you. But the beauty part is that it throws a hissy fit if you stop writing before you hit your time or wordcount goal. You can pick the intensity of said hissy-fit, from just flashing lights and obnoxious noises, all the way up to WIP suicide, where the program starts erasing your words if you stop writing for too long.
You can find Dr. Wicked’s lovely little procrastination-destroyer at http://writeordie.com/ — there is an option to use it online, or to buy a desktop version for very little money. Go ahead and buy it, so that you can turn off the time-suck demon called the internet and concentrate on your writing. Besides, you can’t always count on having wi-fi available when the muse hits.
Write or Die doesn’t let you be a prima donna. When you use it, you write, fast. Anything. Just to get something on the page. But, as I noted last week, you can’t edit a blank page. Once you’ve got something that resembles words in a row on the page, you can edit them and make them, if not perfect, at least serviceable. Write or Die will help you get the words down.
Now if Dr. Wicked would just invent a site that would do the editing for me too . . .