What Have You Got to Lose? Everything.
by Jenna Kalinsky.
As writers, for the most part, we do the good work of work: day in and out, we put the words onto the screen and the paper, scratch ideas into the dirt, and scribble on the underside of napkins. We write, take notes, observe and feel. Being so connected to words and ideas is not a choice for most but rather an extension of who we are.
As a result, we can’t help but feel emotionally connected to the process; after all we are human and not machines.
- Some days, we crack our knuckles ready to begin a new project feeling fresh and optimistic.
- Other times it’s fine, it’s just work!, and we’re ticking along and all is well.
- Then there are the times when we cramp up, either from the product failing to match our expectations or from receiving a comment that gives us pause. In extreme cases, we falter entirely, the words not forthcoming, a wall suddenly between our ability to tick along and our ego, which most acutely feels the pinch.
Where we might have initially viewed getting to fill a clean white page with enthusiasm, when all that limitlessness turns on you and begins to feel vast and scary, the page now a great gaping needy yawn, and you are at a loss for how to fill it, all that possibility feels more like an opportunity to fail.
For some writers, when things turn on us like this, the amorphousness of idea or our own mortality flares up to the point where it’s all we can see. And that’s when we become blocked.
Luckily, there’s an app for that.
“The Most Dangerous Writing App” is a ruthless but incredible program designed to get you to keep your hands moving—and move you must, or else you “Fail.”
It’s the ultimate push: if you’re feeling logy, uninspired, that wall of fear seems impenetrable, and you’d love something to get your heart rate and word count up, this app is brilliant!
It starts by you setting a timer: anywhere from 5-60 punishing minutes and then– you have to type without stopping.
Margaret Rhodes writes in her review of the app on Wired.com, “If you stop, even for a second, the edges of the screen become tinged with red. The longer you go without typing, the redder the edges become, until, after five seconds of inactivity, [author’s note: yes, you read that right] your progress is unceremoniously erased. Forever.”
Rhodes calls it a “sadistic” app for a reason. You pause to sneeze or think about what to have for lunch or to consider your last sentence, and it goes red, as in the color of the blood on your hands before your beautiful thoughts disappear.
The beauty of this app is it forces a person to push past ego, past frailty, past desire and fear and the dreaded “what ifs” and type like your fingers are aflame. As many writers know, when you persevere through those upper level inhibitors and let fly, that’s where the real energy lives and where the true magic happens.
And unless you suffer from hypergraphia—‚a behavioural disorder characterized by an obsessive compulsion to write (which noted writers Lewis Caroll, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates are reputed to have had or have currently and ought not be held up as poster people for the rest of us since “Why can’t I write a book every six months too??” is not a reasonable question— there will be the odd time when even the most stalwart of stalwarts takes a side step into reduced productivity and could use a little kick in the pants.
Being pushed by this app into that non-thinking space (which is kind of a luxury- no time to think is freeing!) is the beauty of it.
But it’s app-ly named and dangerous is right. Imagine going for broke and setting the timer for 60 minutes and losing everything because you gave in to your emotions or stopped to have an opinion about the work you were doing?
If thought and feeling and lyricism and energy are ephemeral at best, this app highlights that fact to an order of magnitude. It indeed does bring your mortality to the fore. It might be said we need those endorphins on occasion: a jolt of recognizing that if you push yourself to make something, to override the “what-ifs,” that could be the very thing to re-start the car, bust you through the wall, and make the story, blog, or early stirrings of that nonfiction book you’ve had in mind forever happen.
So what do you think? Feeling dangerous?
Apps are fantastic tools, but regular personal support from a writing coach ensures you’re supported throughout your writing process in even more applicable ways.
Contact us any time to establish and further a productive, positive, and highly motivating writing practice, so you can publish your work and reach your writing goals!