Write or Die

I have made another pro-writing discovery! It has the positive and nonthreatening name of: ‘Write or Die’!
It’s a system that basically eats your creativity in the hope that you’ll desperately produce more.
More specifically, Write or Die is a program where you can set up a personal ‘words per minute time’ and if you don’t keep up with your target then your work will begin to be deleted…

Controversial, you say? Desperate, maybe? Just plain silly?
Well, yes, yes and yes but I like the idea anyway.

Using the program would probably give me a panic attack, or I would cheat and copy and paste continually, or I would write complete rubbish. Scratch that, I would definitely write completely rubbish.
However, despite the unpleasant-ness of the app, there is part of the idea that really appeals to me.
The writing is spontaneous, unedited and natural.
A lot of us writers are a bit dubious about this ‘writing from the heart’ thing or ‘writing without editing’.
We think that our skill is much more complex than that, that writing must be learnt and our talent must be honed into the perfect style.

However, readers think otherwise.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given a chapter of writing to my boyfriend that I’ve spent hours perfecting and he’s said ‘Mm, I think you’ve over-worked it a bit’ or ‘There’s a lot of stuff that you don’t need here’.
Then I’ve passed him a rough chapter, one that I wrote at speed simply so I could tick ‘write a chapter’ off my to do list, and he’s said ‘This is great, it’s just right!’

I’ve also noticed every copywriting training advert at the moment says ‘you don’t have to be a good writer, in fact, it’s best you’re not!’
Apparently people like to read writing that sounds as if it was written by someone just like them!
(Probably with the exception of legal documents and text books)

So, although I don’t want the pressure of Write or Die, I do like the idea of making what you first write more permanent.
Whether that means thinking for longer before you type, using a pen and paper rather than a laptop or getting a trusty typewriter… I don’t know. But which ever you choose, I think it’s vital to trust our instincts a little more and ignore our internal editor. She clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about!


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