I’m a great believer and encourager of minimalistic writing apps. Heck, I still have Baara’s Q10 on my PCs, even though it hasn’t been updated in years. because it simply works. I love these things because they remove all distractions and by extensions, excuses for not writing.
Where Q10 wins for me is in the Timer app. They have a nice timer add on that will show the number of words you’ve written after a set time, which is perfect for Nanowrimo word wars. It’s one of the best ways I find to get started when I have writer’s block.
The most gruesome version of this timer among writing apps, is WriteOrDie. It’s a little more extreme in the sense that if you started writing and stopped halfway, it would give you a grace period of up to a minute before it began deleting your words, one by one. This meant you needed to continue writing, but if you were stuck looking for a specific word or phrase, you wouldn’t be penalised too harshly.
Though seeing your words disappear one by one is a nightmare to any writer (which is why I don’t use it). :p
So imagine my surprise when I saw The Verge reviewing Flowstate as the writing app that will delete everything you’ve written if you leave your keyboard idle for more than a few seconds.
A few words is one thing, but imagine if it had been 200 words of prose? Dude, NOT COOL.
I think as a gimmick, it’s a horrendously bad idea. And yes, i think it is nothing more than a gimmick, really. There are far less painful and terrifying ways to get into the flow, and watching your entire page disappear because your cat startled you or your baby’s crying in the other room is a horrible way to get people to write. And at 10 USD for the app, I’d rather just get Write Or Die. It’s available on Mac, iOS, and PC, with Android coming soon.
I suppose if you are the kind of person who likes having to retype an entire assignment because you stopped for a snack or a toilet break, then yes, maybe Flowstate is for you. But seriously? Might as well spend that cash on the people who came out with the original concept, aka WriteOrDie.