March 7, 2016

Say Goodbye to Self-Doubt with Your New Favorite Writing App

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Do you constantly rethink second-guess what you are about to write when you start a rough draft? Rough Draft won't let you.

Recently, we featured the writing app Flowstate, which deletes everything you have written if you stop typing for five seconds. The idea is to get you into the state of flow. Rough Draft takes a different approach. It won't make your words disappear, but if you don't like how you've worded phrased something in your first draft, Rough Draft replaces the "delete" function with a strikethrough.

In other words, Rough Draft won't let you permanently change edit anything. In an email to us, the app developer 96 Problems described their creation as "an absolutely god-awful text editor," inspired by Hemingway's quote, "The first draft of anything is shit."

But it's not exactly true that Rough Draft won't let you edit anything. While you're typing in app, the current word appears in orange. When a word is orange, you can use the "delete" key should you realize that you are misspelling the word. (I actually tried to spell "misspelling" as "mispelling" and had to use the delete key.) And technically, while you can't go back and delete words, you can go back and add word.

If you're a writer who thinks visually, Rough Draft also lets you insert placeholders for images.

Rough Draft screenshot
I used a placeholder in Rough Draft to remind me to insert this image here. Nice.

The ethos behind Rough Draft is that we shouldn't edit ourselves so much. When we write longhand, we strike-through constantly. But many of us tend to write rough drafts on our computers or tablets, so all those ubiquitous strike-throughs are lost to the ether. (If only our initial ideas were so pristine.) When we write our rough drafts on a computer, we're worrying about editing ourselves. And if we're editing ourselves, maybe we're editing more than just typos. Maybe we're worried that our rough ideas are too rough; maybe we're looking for that perfect word instead of just writing.

When we edit ourselves so much, do our ideas remain true to our initial conceptions? Are we losing something in the process?

Rough Draft is currently available for free on in the Mac App Store. The developers 96 Problems are working on an iOS version, so you'll be able to use it on your iPad and iPhone soon. If you want to export a clean copy of your draft without strikethroughs, you can pay for the premium version (currently $14.99 $6.99 to celebrate being named Best New App in the Mac App Store). If you don't need a clean copy, you can always export your rough draft with strike-throughs for free.

If you're so inclined to share your ideas with others, Rough Draft has also launched OnlyRoughDrafts.com, where app users can share their rough drafts to get feedback from other writers in the community.      

Your Comment

6 Comments

So what do I do if my whole script has a continuous line going through it?

March 7, 2016 at 7:59PM, Edited March 7, 7:59PM

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Julian Terry
Writer/Director
186

You read between those lines. It's something there.

March 8, 2016 at 12:31AM

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Abi Stricker
Student?
147

It is a pitty it doesn't have a windows version (or Android). This sounds like a terrific idea, since I have always wonder how much editing change something (a lot, I know).

March 8, 2016 at 12:30AM

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Abi Stricker
Student?
147

bummer....Apple Store kicks back with:
The item you've requested is not currently available in the U.S. store.

March 12, 2016 at 1:25AM

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Connie Florez
Producer
21

Or you could use any word processor/notepad and highlight the phrases you are changing each edit or save a new version with the new words in italics or different color. Personally, I save each version with notes until the final edit is completed, no need for a new program.

March 12, 2016 at 2:48AM, Edited March 12, 2:49AM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
275

Ok, can we all admit that self-doubt as a writer (or any other art form for that matter) has absolutely zero to do with what software we are using? Software that works for your specific writing style empowers you to write when you know what to write and have some degree of confidence in writing it. There are many roads through the self-doubt phase of the process, but I've never seen a specific software that was the breaking point for pushing through that. All that being said, if the method of this software helps some writers be more productive, then I'm sure it's well worth the price.

March 15, 2016 at 12:31PM, Edited March 15, 12:31PM

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Dare Stevens
Writer/Director
6