Having Writer's Block? Try These Fun Apps!

Do you ever get stuck writing? Or do you just not want to get started? Check out these writing apps to psych you up for a great and fun writing session.

The Most Dangerous Writing Appmost dangerous writing app

If you stop writing, all of your work will be deleted!

This app will get you started on writing and kick up your adrenaline. You set a time limit, and if you stop writing before time is up, everything you've written will be lost. It's stressful and encouraging. For added excitement, try hardcore mode.

The primary point of using this app is to force you to get something on the page to get you started, then you can go back and edit or build off the text that you’ve written. It also forces you to focus on what you’re writing instead of getting distracted.

As an added tip, you can write and backspace repeatedly to keep the program from deleting your work.

Hemingway Apphemingway app

This app will help you write more like Ernest Hemingway.

It highlights words and sentences in different colors to let you know when you have too many adverbs, passive voice, overly complex phrases, and sentences that are hard or very hard to read. It will then count all of these instances and show you the metrics on the right-hand side.

It will also give you a “Readability” score based on grade level, with a qualitative characterization such as “Good.” Under this score, it provides a basic word count, which can be expanded for additional information, such as “Reading time.”

For example, this blog post has a readability level at Grade 7 with a reading time of 2 minutes and 7 seconds. I’ve used 4 adverbs, which the app finds acceptable; 3 passive voice instances, which the app also finds acceptable; 5 phrases that "have simpler alternatives,"; 3 sentences that are hard to read; and 4 sentences that are very hard to read.

Try a Distraction-Blocking App

Cold Turkey (Windows) and SelfControl (Mac) will help you block Web pages, all of the Internet, or other applications to keep you focused on the task-at-hand. In an age of multi-tasking, this will help you single-task with a distraction-free work zone. However, beware that these apps can be difficult to circumvent. Once they start, you might have trouble turning them off.

First Drafts

If you’re having trouble getting started, remember that your first draft doesn’t have to be pretty. Writing is an iterative process, so don’t worry about producing a perfect first draft. Instead, get your ideas out, and then work through them. Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” When you edit and revise, you can chip away at the extra bits to reveal your final, polished work. For a bit of humorous inspiration, check out this essay by Anne Lamott from Bird by Bird. 

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