Sometimes, negative reinforcement helps.
You’re in front of your computer screen, poised to let the creative juices flow. You wait for the words to come tumbling out of your mind and onto your digital document, but instead you find yourself focusing on that Spotify playlist playing in the background, or the dinging sound of your Facebook chat. Distractions can be devastating.
It’s really hard to beat a bout of technological ADHD when it’s coupled with writer’s block, but ironically there is now an app for that.
Pegged as “the most dangerous app,” Flowstate is a note-taking tool that promises to whip you back into shape as a motivated wordsmith using a modern method of tough love: The app will literally delete all your writing progress the moment you stop typing for more than five seconds.
Using it is pretty simple: After choosing one of the five available fonts for your writing session, you set a time limit anywhere between a minute and three hours. Once you tap and a character appears on the writing space, you cannot stop writing or exit the session—which takes up the entire screen, ensuring that you block all other apps and browser tabs you have running—until your pre-set session has been completed.
If you falter, your words start to fade, the page goes blank, and the timer resets. Rather than seeing it as an app that has a punishment for failure to look forward to instead of a reward, think of it as a self-motivating writing challenge that teaches you to perform awesomely under pressure.
The app’s premise could also be mildly irritating for those who don’t really consider writing their craft, but those who do may find the idea of quite literally going with the flow and jotting down random notes and ideas without worrying about structure to be therapeutic. It strongly suggests a potentially foolproof “write right now, edit later” solution to crippling and time-wasting mental blocks and distractions.