I’ve never been a writing-within-hours-of-the-deadline type of person. In college, I was probably an anomaly of a student. I’d write my papers in advance, then pop into my professors’ office hours for feedback before turning in a final draft. Some peers called me an overachiever. Others had no idea how I could ever not write a paper the night before it was due, fueled by Five Hour Energy Shots and Totino’s Pizza Rolls. The answer was always simple: I set myself early personal deadlines because I’m easily distracted, and needed the extra time to slowly gnaw away at a project. That’s why designer, developer, and neuroscientist Manuel Ebert’s pressure-driven The Most Dangerous Writing App is practically tailor-made for me, and even for that matter, my peers who incidentally put things off until the very last minute.
Ebert’s app seeks to change the wandering mindset that comes with being sat at a computer with intense, pointed pressure. You set a goal for yourself, say, your objective is half an hour, and get typing—except there’s a catch. The catch is that if you stop writing for more than five seconds, all your progress is lost. Pretty high stakes for a measly writing management application. No more listening to a podcast or deciding to window-browse Amazon while you’re writing, otherwise you’ll be punished.
Its design in this sense is similar to recent roguelike survival games Downwell and Nuclear Throne: strive to reach the goal, most likely fail in the process, only to start from the beginning once more, like your soul wasn’t just crushed moments prior. The Most Dangerous Writing App is an arcade-like exercise in how well an individual can work under pressure. The app exists as a potential solution to the ever-growing problem of waning productivity in the age of the net.
Described by Ebert in the description as, “designed to shut down your inner editor and get you into a state of flow,” the app might not be the best route into creating that rare perfect first draft. Instead, it’s better served to get your creativity flowing in a natural state. So, journalists, students, and other writers from all around: turn on your favorite background music and take The Most Dangerous Writing App for a spin. Write until your fingers cramp up and your brain stops functioning, because if you don’t, it’s game over.
Got writer’s block? Test The Most Dangerous Writing App for yourself here. (That is, if you dare.)