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These Epic Apps Will Help You Write More Productively

From cute incentives to terrifying consequences

| 3 min read

From cute incentives to terrifying consequences

Do you ever find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, unable to come up with something good enough to write down? Do you reread sentences you have managed to type, only to delete them because they aren’t good enough anyways? As Nora Roberts, an American bestselling author, says: “You can’t edit a blank page.” Sometimes you just need a little prodding to get some — any really — words down.

Regardless of your writing style, these three apps could help you out. They are listed here in order of intensity. We’re not responsible for any dire consequences that could result, although we’ll take credit for the writing if you’ll let us!

Written? Kitten

If all you’re looking for is a little incentive to keep writing, Written? Kitten might be the right app for you. You can choose a particular number of words and every time you reach a multiple of that number, the app will show you a cute picture of a kitten. If kittens aren’t really your thing, you can also choose from a multitude of other animals like puppies, bunnies and dinosaurs — I’m partial to the panda bears myself. All of the pictures come from Flickr and the app is about as basic as it gets. There’s a spot to write, a spot for the pictures and a word count tally. Best of all, it’s completely free and open source.


ILYS’s goal is to remove all of the distractions when you write. Rather than showing you everything you’ve typed on the page, all you get to see is one letter at a time — the last one you typed. Once you’ve reached the number of words you set the app to before you began, an arrow will appear on the side of the page and you can go see everything you have written. As one of the test-users in their promotional video says: “When you’re working on your first draft, what is important is to crank out the words, don’t worry about going back and correcting. That is absolutely fatal.”

A word of caution, don’t start up a conversation with someone while writing using ILYS. As soon as you let yourself get distracted, you’ll forget where you were in your writing and have nothing but the last letter you typed to remind yourself.

This simple app goes for $10.08 per month, but you can try it out for free for up to 3,000 words.


Write or Die

This app is the most epic of all and should only be used in extremely dire situations. You can set an amount of time you want to write for and a goal for your number of words. Once you start writing, if you stop for too long, the app will administer your chosen consequence. This can be anything from an unpleasant sound to a picture of spiders. If you’re feeling really confident, you can also enter Kamikaze mode where your words will start unwriting themselves if you don’t write fast enough.

This app is made by the same people as Written? Kitten so it can also provide soothing sounds or cute images if you choose to go that route instead.

For just $20, you will either get your writing done, or seriously regret your purchase as you watch your words disappear!

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