A little different post today. This isn’t blog posts I’ve read, but rather a tool I’ve found that works really well for me.
I don’t remember how long ago it was, a couple months ago probably, but I remember someone on twitter asking about writing applications that would basically shut out everything else. I’ve used Write or Die before, and that worked pretty good for me. But, there wasn’t really anything to keep you from going to other things on the computer. I didn’t want to shut off my computer’s wi-fi either, because I listen to my playlists on Spotify while writing.
Well, someone mentioned FORCEdraft. I decided to check it out. I really like the concept, although sometimes I get a little twitchy that I can’t go and check tweetdeck in the middle of a writing session or change the song that’s playing. Or look something up really quick. Although I was already in the habit of sticking a [xx] in if there was something I wanted to look up later, instead of wrecking my momentum.
(no, I don’t type my blog posts using it, just wanted an example)
I’ve found that I can write almost twice as many words using this than when I write directly in Scrivener. It doesn’t give me the choice of checking twitter or anything else. Instead I have to just focus on the words. Unless I’m participating in a writing sprint on twitter, I set it for words(my default is 500, although that changes sometimes). Of course, when I am sprinting, I set it for whatever time limit has been set with the sprint. I can usually write 500 words in less than 30 minutes(I’ve even managed to break 1k in less than an hour).
You can change where it saves to(I didn’t bother for this example). I’ve been using it to write most of Flames of Recompense. The whole things saves as one file, and you just keep adding to it. When I’ve exited out of it, I just open up the .txt file it saves as and copy those words to Scrivener. If I didn’t track my daily word count, I might just leave it all there until it was finished.
I ran into my first problem with this program this morning, though. And it’s the same thing that makes my productivity so high.
Once you set your goal and click ‘start writing’, YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF IT. Well, this morning I decided to set it to go until I wrote an additional 900 words. I’d written a few, maybe 100, and I clicked on the top(it shows you how much longer you have to go to reach your goal) and saw it said I had 892 minutes left. At first I read it wrong and was like “I wrote more than 8 words”. I clicked it again and realized it said minutes. And I may have said some choice words. Then, I did the math. 900 minutes = 15 hours. This was at about 8:30 this morning. By the time it would have let me exit, it would have been 11:30 at night. Yeah, I’m usually sleeping by then.
I was hoping I could discover a way to get out of it, without having to shut the computer down and thus lose the running count for today’s words on Scrivener. Well, in the end, I wasn’t able to keep that even though I didn’t shut it all the way down. I got the main menu of the computer to come up by hitting ctrl+alt+del. I tried clicking task manager, but forcedraft just takes over again. Tried simply ‘switch user’. That didn’t work either. I ended up having to log out, which closed everything I’d had opened. It meant doing a little extra math to figure out the day’s total. Now, I know I have to pay more attention when I set my goals for a writing session.
Despite this morning’s problems, I really do like the program and will continue to use it(in fact, I did even after that mishap). I’d suggest it to anyone else who has issues focusing on the words because there are too many other distractions around. Of course, you can likely check twitter(or whatever your weakness is) on your phone, too, but this does help minimize some of the distractions.