Don’t forget to scream

While it should not be a surprise to myself, it is amazing how I can sit down to write and manage to busily do anything but that, despite my best intentions. I know this has been a bit if recurring theme in the last few posts, but it’s been a significant problem lately, and I know it is for many of you too.

Exactly that has happened on a number of times recently. Today, determined to not fall into the same trap, I did fall into it for an hour or two, found myself and gave me a good talking to. I had started a writing exercise recently, just to dust off the cobwebs before heading into my manuscript, and 400-odd words in I was intrigued and thought that maybe this story could go somewhere. Today was the first chance I had to start building on it and see if it does have legs. So I dithered and stalled and cursed myself. Then I found the tools at Final Deadline – in particular a feature they have titled Scrawl. It’s essentially a textbox you type your story in, you set a time frame you want to write for and there’s a stick in the form of a scream that if you don’t type for a period of so many seconds, it will scream at you.

I haven’t heard the scream yet, I’ve been too afraid – I’m in the library after all! But I set myself 15 minutes as a first try, with a 15 second window of inactivity before the scream kicked in. In 15 minutes I wrote more than 400 words, I double my word count! Now those words needed probably 15 minutes tweaking and fiddling (just to fit into draft form), but in 30 minutes I had 400 extra words, 400 more than I’d written in the previous 30 minutes!

So I’m heading back over there now – I’ll let you know if I hear the scream 🙂


Holy crap! I hit the 15 seconds without realising it and, thankfully I had headphones in so I didn’t deafen the library users, but the noise! it was like traffic and sirens and honking and LOUD!!!  I jumped and raised my hands in defence – it was loud and shocking! The only way to stop it is to type. Whoa, my heart beat fast!! I’ve kept typing, there’s no way to stop the timer once started, it has to run down the entire 15 minutes, but man I’m nervous! The next time I think I’ll make the warning period 30 seconds, I know I have to keep typing, the timer itself and the increasing word count is an incentive, but man, the fear is perhaps a little contrary to productivity! It seriously shocked me – how funny!



2 responses to “Don’t forget to scream

  1. Back in the 1990s, a friend wrote a program like this for me. A blank screen, a cursor, and a beep if you stopped writing for more than an interval of time that you selected. (The beep was polite, though, not loud and scary.)

    This was meant to do two things. Because of the beep, you kept writing, and because of the blank screen you couldn’t go back and edit as you went — you had to move forward.

    I used it a few times, but not that often (though I never told the guy who’d been nice enough to write it).

    The main problem was that when I can’t see the screen my typing becomes almost as incomprehensible as my handwriting. 🙂


    • I don’t think I’d like to have a completely blank screen either, I get a sense of satisfaction from seeing the page fill with lines, of course the flip side of that is a blank page can have me sit stymied for a while.
      Although in a contrary fashion, when I’m mid typing a sense that’s going well I often look out the window or somewhere other than the screen. If I couldn’t fix typos as I went I don’t think I could write at all to be honest. How nice of your friend though, good to have supporters.


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