Need to Write or Else? Write or Die App Will Force Your Hand

Sometimes, best intentions aren't enough to get you to write your screenplay. Or perhaps you need to work under a tight deadline to churn out pages. But how well would you write if you knew your computer or iPad would start deleting your words if you stopped writing for too long? That's the beauty/horror of Write or Die, an app available for your iPad and desktop that goads you into writing with negative consequences. Or as its tagline proclaims: "Putting the 'Prod' in Productivity".

Write or Die allows the user to set up parameters for a writing session, including a word goal, a time goal, and a grace period. Users can export their writing to Dropbox, email, Clipboard or text file. The app also provides multiple settings for the level of punishment for taking fingers off the keyboard. "Gentle" mode gives the user a pop-up reminder to get back to work. "Normal" mode emits an unpleasant sound until the user starts writing again. "Kamikaze" mode will start to delete precious words if the writer strays beyond the grace period. Finally, there's "Nyan Cat" mode, and you do not want to know what happens when you cross the line in "Nyan Cat" mode.

Practically speaking, the desktop version may be more useful for screenwriters than the iPad app, but if you're mobile and need to write under a deadline, now there's an app for that. Also, writing in screenplay format can be difficult without the right tools, so to make Write or Die useful to write screenplays, you could write in Fountain syntax, then import your Fountain-formatted text file into your preferred screenwriting application, including Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter.

The Write or Die iPad app is $9.99 in the App Store. A desktop version for Mac, PC and Linux is also available to download from Write or Die for $10. If you're really old school, the original web app can still be launched with its modest settings.

Do you need negative reinforcement to get the words on the page? Have you used Write or Die and suffered its consequences? Let us know.


[via L.A. Times Jacket Copy blog]

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Your Comment


Fun idea. But too much of a pain to implement. To succeed I think Celtx compatibility would have been its first step. 10 bucks is a bit steep in my opinion also.

June 18, 2012 at 8:56AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Lliam Worthington

I'm gonna get it only to see NYAN-CAT mode :)

June 18, 2012 at 9:58AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Ten bucks for the most annoying alarm clock/reminder app you will ever own. Cute, in a "I would never buy it" way. Reminds me of those alarm clocks that only 'detonate' when you solve a puzzle or shoot the target.

June 18, 2012 at 10:59AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Rev. Benjamin

maybe i´m wrong about it, but i think that if you don´t have a desire for creating, an inner "drive", nothing outside you can make this desire to flourish.

June 18, 2012 at 1:09PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Guto Novo

Yeah but sometimes even despite a soul felt desire to create it can really just be such hard work that everything and anything else can suddenly take on a newfound importance to get done, and I can see how an idea like this may even have some merit beyond cute. Anything that helps get you there and be more disciplined.

June 19, 2012 at 10:52AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Lliam Worthington


June 19, 2012 at 1:39PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Guto Novo

Who's this guto novo? You're absolutely correct about the 'inner drive' thing.

June 24, 2012 at 4:43AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I disagree. Procrastinating and creativity are two totally separate things. People with ADD tend to procrastinate. And creativity runs high amongst people with ADD, so there is already a strong correlation right there of people who are creative but will just sit in front of a blank screen until there's a gun to their heads. A lot of people can't get anything done without external pressure---procrastination is often a way of creating a high pressure situation in order to focus better...

June 27, 2012 at 4:54AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Daniel Mimura

Would be funny if it meant some family emergency or something that pulled you away spiraled into the destruction of years of your own work. =D

I am not in favor of death marches. The prolificacy of the successful writers you admire comes from their loving writing, not their beating themselves.

June 18, 2012 at 5:01PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


$10 is insane for this app. Some developer is really out of touch with the market.

June 19, 2012 at 3:49PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I'd rather get a real writing app like Scripts Pro it's atleast compatible with Final Draft and costs like 7-8 bucks.

June 21, 2012 at 3:50PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM