Writing and Design

Steve Ince, freelance writer and game designer, posts thoughts and comments on these two meaningful aspects of his life.

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Name: Steve Ince

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Write or Die

The following is some nonsense I wrote after going to the Write or Die website and trying it out with a 500 word limit and 20 minute time limit. I wrote the 500 words in about 14 minutes. I haven't edited anything.

I don't know what I'm going to write here, it's just a test to see if I can do the 500 words in the alotted time. It seems like a very good idea to motivate people in this way, but is it really a good tool for creativity?

One of the things that I find when I'm writing is that because I'm so often creating design documents there is no real chance to get a flow going like this. However, it may be useful for writing my novel, which has been a real problem as I'm more likely to put off opening the file than actually put off the writing when I've got the file opened.

What we need is a way of forcing me to open the file and then making me write.

Another problem I often have is that of too many ideas. Which of them should I concentrate on in order to progress something? At times it seems that having too many is a barrier and I become indecisive about doing anything at all and can flounder under this.

The interesting thing I'm finding about this Write or Die thing is that I'm almost writing without thinking. I've always loved the physical aspect of writing on a keyboard ever since I taught myself to type on a manual typewriter. Thinking about ideas and letting my fingers transfer the words to paper was always great fun and although the paper is now virtual, the feeling of satisfaction remains. What I like about a computer keyboard is the way that it's much less effort than the old manual typewriter and this enable me to maintain a higher typing speed than I would ever have been able to manage on the old machine.

I still have the manual typewriter somewhere - probably in the attic - but I don't know if it still works as I probably haven't touched it for at least 15 years. I think I shall hang onto it, though, as it's a reminder of where I came from all those years ago, professionally speaking. It was actually a present from my parents one Christmas, which shows how supportive they were in their own way.

I just pause to look at my word count and I'm up to 385 and have done that in less than ten minutes, which is pretty good for something just of the top of my head. I've now just hit the ten minute mark.

I'm still wondering what else I should write as I set myself a target of 500 words and I've still got 60 to go. I think this could be a useful tool in a small way, but I'm not sure how best to fit it into my work schedule. I don't like the NaNoWriMo idea as it feels to constricting in some ways but I ought to set myself some kind of daily or weekly target. Perhaps what Write or die needs is some kind of daily reminder that will sync with my schedule/calendar.

That's it, the word count is now 519.



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