Write! Or else.

Recently, Fiction Writers Review posted a (hopefully) facetious article about how to blackmail yourself into writing via the goal-setting site Aherk!. Here’s how it works: you sign up, provide a compromising photo of yourself, and if you don’t achieve your set goal–for example, say, finishing your novel/poetry collection–then the site posts aforementioned compromising picture of you on Facebook. Simple. Elegant. Utterly insane, yes?

But, although most of us don’t fall to quite these extremes, this is just one of the myriad ways writers get themselves focused and working in the digital age:

E.g., for the easily distracted, iA Writer and Dark Room claim to provide a 100% writing-only environment on your computer.

Write or Die takes a more Pavlovian approach to writerly encouragement. If you write, all’s well. If you don’t . . . there are consequences. For your ears.

Or, if you’re more into positive reinforcement, Write? Kitten! offers–you guessed it–a feline reward for every 100, 200, 500, or 1000 words sacrificed to its cute, furry altar.

But for some, nothing really does it like massive amounts of peer pressure, as the now infamous NaNoWriMo proves with its many thousands of participants every November. In fact, deadline-driven group writing is so popular that NaNo has spawned counterparts Script Frenzy3-Day Novel, and JulNoWriMo, among many others.

You might very well wonder how much would get done if we put as much time into  writing as we do trying to make ourselves write. But if it helps, why not?

Except for the blackmail bit. Probably a bad idea.

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Does this make you want to write? What does?

About the Author: Julia Patt

JuliaBiopicJulia Patt, Contributing Editor, from Chestertown, MD, is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she was a fiction editor for The Greensboro Review. Her young adult novels—i was a fourth grade zombie slayer and Through Waterless Places—were both shortlisted for Mslexia’s 2012 Children’s Novel Competition, and her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Surreal South ’11Stymie, and PANK.

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