FORCEdraft: Make Yourself Write!

forceSome writers need to make daily word counts. These may be personal goals or professional assignments, but we have to make with the words whether or not they’re actually floating around in our heads waiting to spill out on the page (virtual or actual). Writer’s block is a luxury those who write for a living can’t afford, but it doesn’t make it any less of a challenge.

The internet is both the blessing and the curse to the writer. Research has never been easier. Reaching out to subjects for interviews, dropping in a few citations and statistics, firming up our grasp of a subject: the internet makes all of this easier.

And it also makes it much much harder. The computer exerts a powerful gravitational pull, and the internet is always there to lure you into a few minutes of email, social media, browsing, grazing, poking, and other fruitless ways to pass the time.

Sometimes, those distractions call for various tools and tricks. I use various timers to slice up my day into productive bits, but the siren song of RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, and general webbiness is always singing a sweet tune in my ear. I’ve tried various Google plugins to block services, but I always wind up disabling them after a little while.

FORCEdraft (browser or Windows: free) is stronger medicine. It offers a page to write on and nothing else, and then locks the rest of your computer until a specific goal is met. You can set a time limit or a word limit, and the program will not let you out until you meet it. Even CTRL-ALT-DEL won’t give you let you out. Nothing short of a reboot will end the session.

You can open it in a browser or download an EXE for Windows, but the program works about the same either way.

Even for a text editor (and I prefer working in pure TXT format) it’s a bare-bones program. There’s no spell check, right-click mouse functionality, hotkeys, or menu. There’s no alarm when you hit your limit, and no onscreen timer or word count. You can choose where to save and what to to name the file. A couple of more features would make it a stronger program.

For those who just want a plain text editor, FORCEdraft can also be set to exit whenever you want. There are, however, plenty of better PC text editors and browser editors out there. FORCEdraft does one thing: it makes you write and do nothing else. That may be just the medicine you need to get things done.