November 13, 2014 1:29 PM   Subscribe

If you compulsively feel compelled tend to edit yourself as you write, you may benefit from ilys. Just enter a target wordcount and tap away. Until you meet your goal, ilys conceals what you've written and prevents you from backspacing.

(If you're on a PC, you could of course just turn off your monitor. But you'd be missing out on word count that way!)
posted by Iridic (71 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
I guess this could also be done via changing your text color to the background color, and you'd still be able to use word count. But it's a neat idea, and if the program makes it easier/better, that's cool.
posted by JauntyFedora at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hm. Well, I tried it for 100 words:

"itwas the best of times, it was the worst of times. the problem with this is that i can't remember what i wrote previously, and it is makeing i t really difficult to work out how to frame the nexty sentence. this started as a joke but now i don't relly know where i m going. it's like an exquisite corpse played with myself. and that now sounds a little off putting. how is that only 72 words??? come in. okay did i actually have something i wanted to say ? i suppose not. wait am i done? yes! i'm done! "

What I've learned is that (a) my stream of consciousness is awfully tedious, and (b) I'm a terrible typist.
posted by langtonsant at 1:38 PM on November 13, 2014 [19 favorites]

This juts ni: I cant tpey wrothshit.
posted by tommasz at 1:42 PM on November 13, 2014 [16 favorites]

AAAAAAAAAAAAAH YOU CAN'T GO BACK AND FIX YOUR MISTAKES IMMEDIATELY? They just sit there, lurking, while you know in the back of your mind that you transposed the "g" and the "n" in "ing" and they are watching you while the hairs on the back of your neck creep up and you type onward creating more and more mistakes which haunt you but you keep moving forward, determined to make your word count, not acknowledging, at least not consciously, the mistakes you know have already been made and exist (you can't see them but they're there, oh, you know they're there and the more you try to ignore them the larger their shadows loom) but you can't fix and are poised, hovering around you, closing in, until you go mad Edgar Allan Poe character style? No thank you!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:44 PM on November 13, 2014 [23 favorites]

Two thoughts: One, this is kind of cool. The other, what is up with the horriblefont on that website!? Anyways, here's my contribution:

"It was a dark and stormy night. Actuaklly, it was mid-afternoon, but it was kind of glloomy. And it really wasn't stormy, either. Actually, it was just kinda grey. However, it was gloomy nonetheless. The protagonist of our story stood there, looking at the not-so-stormy so-so-night sky and wondered to himself, just how in the hell can I be only 60 words into this story so far. He walked for a bit, and then walked back, then reallized that whe really wanted to walk forward after all and proceeded to do so. As he did, he dropped his cell phone. The End."
posted by surazal at 1:46 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

At some point in every person's life, they find that things aren't simple or easy or freee. Wait is that what I wanted to say? Anyway, this was not one of those times. Getting around limitations may seeem like a fun way to spend five minutes on the Internet, but it's really a terribly unreflective way to do what you are trying to accomplish. Also having giant letters appear makes it seem like I'm in some weird experimental film where thoughts fly by at the speed of a man typing at a keyboard. It certainly hasn't generated some unique insight.
posted by graymouser at 1:55 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

MrtaFlitre: I cant tpey wrothshit.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:56 PM on November 13, 2014 [7 favorites]

I would like something like this, but only sort of like this (maybe you can view a whole sentence at least) into Scrivener. Thank you.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:57 PM on November 13, 2014

What the hell is this? How am I supposed to spend an entire hour typing one paragraph and editing it over and over and over and then deleting the whole thing and starting over from scratch, then realizing I wanted to say something else anyway, typing that out, editing it, and decidint not to post? I think I misspelled something back there but I CAN'T FIX IT. Sixty-seven? Really? And "sixyty-seven" only counts as one words. I'm not sure that's right. Seems like ti should be two. Anyway, I think this would drive me crazy if I used it on a regular bases.
posted by Foosnark at 1:59 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Need to fix a typo? Edit"

So tempting.
posted by Foosnark at 2:00 PM on November 13, 2014

My usual mode of working:
1. Write a paragraph
2. Read the paragraph to make sure it's OK
3. Re-read to admire my handiwork
4. Feel proud of myself
5. Go eat a string cheese
6. Play a video game
posted by naju at 2:01 PM on November 13, 2014 [40 favorites]

I don't like this. Not one bit.
posted by Chuffy at 2:03 PM on November 13, 2014

Just Kerouac it. Typewriter, scroll of paper, amphetamines.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:05 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

Hmm. I find it very useful to be able to read the last 1-4 sentences in order to, you know, remember what I'm writing about or where I am in a thought.

What if they displayed your typing, but ignored the backspace and all arrow keys? Then you could read what you need to but still be compelled to press on without going back to fix every little thing.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:10 PM on November 13, 2014

"it's not a good starting sign that when i entered the amount of words i wantd to type i had a typo in the actual number. got a good sign at all. in other news, this is going to be the new preview window for metafilter, i've heard... so thats pretty exciting. you can all look forward to the new functionality over the christmas holiday, from my understanding. its expected to make future metafilter comments feel more 'real' and immediate... no more wondering if the commented spent too much time agoanizing over specific wording, or that they spent a hour "

composing their thoughts.

(wow, i'm a better typist than i thought). I'll open the metafilter thread requesting demanding this new commenting system immediately.
posted by el io at 2:16 PM on November 13, 2014

One of the few true things Dave Sim has ever said was that it's better to write a first draft by hand or on a typewriter, because then cross-outs show how much time you've wasted getting one word right when you should be moving on.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 2:19 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

This might cut back on some of the weird-ass, dyslexic mistakes I makee when I try to reword stufff after the fact. But, god, I am sure it would introuduce alll kinds of new crappppy, problems. Also, i think you can back up and correct, you just can't see what you are correcting. Either that, or this is going to be more of a mess than I am expecting. PAlso, also, how the hell is it I can churn out hudnreds of words for lols on mefi while failing to do my paid writing? This is an issue like daily.

Yup, more of a mess than I expected.
posted by Michele in California at 2:19 PM on November 13, 2014

I have tspent the last 48 hours working on proposals to the National science Foundation and I have double vision right now do this is kind aof a relief. But I feel like my hands are a bit too shaky to actually type to my usual standards of (in)accuracy. SO how did I do?
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:23 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

You guys might like IA Writer, it has a focus mode that dims everything but the current sentence you're typing.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:25 PM on November 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

I am obsessive and compulsive and controlling enough that just the very thought of this thing is making me antsy.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2014

Sometimes when the down to the wire the only way to get the thing out of you is to word-vomit and not look back. Editing can happen later.
posted by bleep at 2:31 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thanks for this, Iridic! So here's the first result...

"How am I supposed to write if I can't see what I'm putting on the screen? This is very weird. Crazy, strange weuird, like like stuffing fish in your pants instead of wearing underwar. And yet, here I am doing it, and so far it seems to be going well. B. But is it? Am I making a string of typoes and not even realizing it? How many words have been mispellled? Is this justproducing gibberish? Oh, the mystery! This is a little like being drunk, in way. Kindiof liberating. But what will the resuklt look like? Three more words!"
posted by Kevin Street at 2:32 PM on November 13, 2014

"By the time I reached the summit, my oxygen was nearly depleted, I ate all of my Clif bars, my nuts were practically frozen to the inside of each inner thigh, my nostrils were nearly plugged with frozen boogers, my toes looked like moldy grapes... the dark kind, not the green kind. I wondered if I would still have them by the time I returned home. Our decision to leave base camp at the first sign of impedngin doom was perhaps a bit shortsighted. We didn't think our sherpas would lead us astray, after all we bought the deluxe package. Oh.I'm done."
posted by ReeMonster at 2:35 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

One of the few true things Dave Sim has ever said was that it's better to write a first draft by hand or on a typewriter, because then cross-outs show how much time you've wasted getting one word right when you should be moving on.

Or: "How I Reverse Engineered Google Docs to Play Back Any Document’s Keystrokes"
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:36 PM on November 13, 2014

If I use ilys for a story I'll need to write the character's names on post-it note or something and keep it close to the computer. No going back to check things with this program.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:39 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

If it could just discreetly delete everything I've written after a decent delay, that would save a lot of time.
posted by Segundus at 2:55 PM on November 13, 2014


Oh man if this isn't an old medievally English cuss it hella should be

"Behold this decree! Art thou not wrothshit with the Bishop of Worms, Aetheldrick!?"

posted by prize bull octorok at 2:58 PM on November 13, 2014 [9 favorites]

My effort...

What an astonishingly ugly website. The white text on the hot pink background - crying out for some lime green, few broken images and animated GIFS of rotating *NEW* and an envelope being stuffed with a letter.
posted by mattoxic at 3:00 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm one of those people who tend to edit what they write. Compulsively. Repeatedly. The thing is, I generally don't stop with spelling, or gammar, or word choice, or even paragraph divisions. See, I'm so obsessive about my writing (which is ironic because it is so pedestrian and unimaginative by the standards of other people I've seen on this site) that I will edit for LINE SPACING. Or line width, or what have you. I will edit and re-edit myself to make sure that each line of text that I wright is relatively even in the editing window. It's absurd. Truly, deeply absurd, because of course the appearance of text in the editing winow has no bearing on how it will appear once posted. And yet when I tried to write fiction a few years ago, I found myself spending more time rewording what I had written so that there were no outliers among the lines of text than I did initially *writing* shit. I think I may have issues. This interface is pretty helpful, as far as it goes, but it's a real pain not to be able to edit yourself except in the most rudimentary way, by backspacing. Dear God, when I finally post this thing there are going to be so many errors. So, you know, this weird obsession with the spacing of characters on contiguoug lines is not the only thing that keeps me from being a good writer. Fr from it. My descriptions are almost absent unless I force myself to focus on them... except then they become florid. And the internal monologue of my characters is so damned extensive that I imagine nobody but me would have the patience to actually read it. Hell, *I* don't have the patience to read it, let alone write. The twenty-thousand-word second chapter of my story has been stagnant for years now. I think I began writing my story as a subconscious response to the course of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. Not My complaint was not so much with its meandering plot, or ever-expanding (and *very* seldom contracting cast of characters), although those certainly contributed to my disaffection. My complaint was with the frequency with which the One Power was a... you know what? I'm talking out of my ass here. The truth is that magic would have played just as pivotable a role in my sotry, had I possessed the wherewithal to actionally write it, as it did in the Wheel of Time series. And then I read (devouted, more like) the extant books in the Song of Ice and Fire series, and I couldn't help but see them as a far better response to any complaint that could be made about WoT than anything I could even dream of crafting. You know, I'm kind of tired. So you can lay the stream-of-consciousness-ness of this comment down to that, more than the fact that I'm unable to review anything that Ive already written. Danmnit! I missed an apostrophe back there, and now it's too late. I'm also aware that I misspelled "dammit", or "damn it," if you'd rather, but I need to make up one thousand words somehow, so I suppose it's for the best that I can't just go back and edit. Does anyone else find it as peculiar as I do that we are instructed to put our commas *within* quotation marks? It just feels wrong somehow, so much so that wherever I have the ability, I will use italics in place of quotes, just so I don't have to do that. There's been a lot of talk lately about the LDS church, given their newfound ownership of the fact of Joseph Smith's polygamy. One of the most intriguing Mormon doctrines, in my mind, is one that they've walked away from: the "getting your own planet after you die" thing. Because I would not be at all surprised if that is all that this reality really is: We are a part of some great machine, beyond our comprehension, working to give some advanced intelligence some answer that they desire. I probably cribbed that from a synopsis of Douglas Adams' HHGttG sequels. I certainly never read the book. I tried reading the first, but I just couldn't make it through. The writing was too indulgent, too self-satisfied. If memory serves, I bowed out when Marvin the Paranoid Android was opening hatch doors in the ship to go somewhere, a process that was described in such excruciating detail that I couldn't stomach it. The book hadn't really done anything good for me up to that point, and that section was so off-putting that I actually *deleted the book from my kindle account* never to be read again. Dude undeniably had some genius concepts and intellectual framings, though. "Vogon Poetry" being second-worst in the universe, for instance, second to (in its original tellings) an *actual* poet here on planet Earch! So, y'know, nothing against Adams. I don't want to upset his partisans. Crap! I've lost my train of thought (probably several times) and I still have more than 100 words left. Okay, here goes from memory: On either side the river lie long fields of barley and of rye, that clothe the wold (not a misspelling, IIRC. The version I memorized, or at least tried to a decade ago actually used "wold") and meet the sky and through the field the road runs by to many-tower'd camelot. And up and down the people go, gazing where the lilies blow, round an island there below, the island of chalott. Damn it, I wrote "Chalott," didn't I? And OH GREAT, another comma INSIDE a quotation mark. But Lancelot mused a little space, and said (I REVUSE TO USE QUOTES) She has a lovely face God in his mercy lend her grace, the Lady of Shalott. See? I *do* know how to spell it! On a related note, isn't Kevin Sullivan's 1985 TV Movie version of Ann of Green Gables the bestest thing ever Oh, thank gGod, I'm done.


I think I'll stick with the old way, thanks.
posted by The Confessor at 3:08 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

"I think I may have issues."

We all do, The Confessor. Each and every one of us.

And only nine or ten typos in, what, three thousand words? Well done!
posted by Kevin Street at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I can't access it now, but this sounds like a potential MetaFilter April Fool's idea.

It is also making me very consciencious about oh crap, consciencious is underlined by a red squiggly
posted by halifix at 3:20 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

Am I the only person who is more intimidated by a blank page than the possibility of an error? I was kind of surprised at how upset I started feeling as I wrote without seeing any of the writing I produced, like I was missing all the "progress" I was making. It felt really weird and upsetting, even when it was just for 50 words.
posted by sciatrix at 3:27 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

1. Write a paragraph
5. Go eat a string cheese

A whole string cheese, every paragraph? Even at a paragraph a day, naju, you may have just redefined "writer's block".
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:30 PM on November 13, 2014 [12 favorites]

It's like exquisite corpse for one person.
posted by Yowser at 3:32 PM on November 13, 2014

first of all, i should say that i cheated by selecting 80 words rather than 100. I should also say that I have alrady made a mistake, perhaps several. But you knew that. The real question (did i (I) propose an unreal one?) is why in the HELL anyone would subject themselves to this absurd method of writing. The blinking letters mock me with their neatness --— but I know the chaos that lies behind them. that was eighty words.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:32 PM on November 13, 2014

We all do, The Confessor. Each and every one of us.

But how do you typo gGod? I believe that counts as a sign of psychopathy and irredeemable character.

I'm now curious how typewriter users knew when to use the carriage return. Did they just eyeball it? Can I use a public library that would add a red squiggly line beneath every word that a common spelling filter would? Now I want a typewriter.
posted by halifix at 3:33 PM on November 13, 2014

I'm now curious how typewriter users knew when to use the carriage return. Did they just eyeball it?

I have a couple of old-fashioned typewrites and yes, on the old ones you have to eyeball it and hit the carriage return. It takes some getting used to; of the two, one of them will let you type off the page and the other dings when you have a certain number of characters left on the line and then just won't let you keep typing beyond that so it leaves a margin, but at the cost of your happiness.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:36 PM on November 13, 2014

My usual mode of working:

That's pretty sophisticated. Mine's more like:

1. Write a paragraph
2. Read the paragraph to make sure it's OK
3. Move the mouse pointer to the "Post Comment" button, but don't click yet.
4. Decide to insert or delete a few words to make the comment flow better, and then immediately click "Post Comment."
5. Around five minutes and fourteen seconds later, notice that step 4 messed up the grammar or introduced some typos that I'm 100% sure weren't there after step 2.
posted by effbot at 3:39 PM on November 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

Carriage returns were simple. You'd type until you couldn't type any more, then hit the carriage return. At first there'd be a lot of cut-off words that you had to continue or retype on the next line, but after some practice you'd start to get a sense that the end of the page came after typing for sixty seconds, or thirty or however many seconds it took at your current speed.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:39 PM on November 13, 2014

Most of the typewriters I remember using would just type every letter on the last space if you forgot to hit the return, so you ended up with a big ink smudge there.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:40 PM on November 13, 2014

My attempt:

Okay, im going to try this. Im on an ipad. Does autocorrect work on this things? How many words is 50? This is probably the most birjng pwriting samlepe ever written . Am i done now? How about now? I womder what i should have for dinner. A chichken sandwich sounds pretty good. Oh theres a orage arrow . I guess im a done?
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:41 PM on November 13, 2014

I realized the moment i fell into thr fissure that my book would not be destroyed as i had planned. It continued falling into that startu expanse, of which i had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to dpecilate where it might have landed, I must admit, however, such conjecture is futilr. Still, the wuestion of whose hands might one day jold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed. And do, i close, knowing that perhaps, the ending has not yet been written. And I'm not finished yet. Still several more words to go, and I'm typing this on my phone, and I can't actually see the wied count. What's that lityle orange triangle thingy?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:43 PM on November 13, 2014

I used to write with a netbook and an attached keyboard that was actually sized for human hands and I would do NaNoWriMo sprints by closing the laptop screen and typing, sometimes while making unnerving eye contact with other people in the room.
posted by NoraReed at 3:44 PM on November 13, 2014 [4 favorites]

I was just thinking about this sort of problem the other day, while hunting down new ribbons for my typewriter, since the entire reason I use my typewriter is so I can see what I just wrote without being able to do anything about it. I get a lot more written when I can't just second guess my way down to a blank page, but then everything is on a piece of paper and not on the internet, where I want it.
posted by selenized at 3:50 PM on November 13, 2014

I'm now curious how typewriter users knew when to use the carriage return. Did they just eyeball it?

I'm not sure what typewriters other folks have used, but everyone I've ever remember using had a right-margin bell that rings when you hit a certain column. You can hear one near 7:00 in this documentary about one YouTuber's Underwood No. 5, an American classic.
posted by effbot at 3:50 PM on November 13, 2014

Curse you, langtonsant
posted by Yowser at 4:05 PM on November 13, 2014

I cannot see the point of this for me. Editing and rewording while I write is absolutely fundamental, as is the ability to reread and check the flow/headsound of what's there before I move on. If your edit-as-you-go is interfering with your ability to write at all, that's not a problem that seems to be caused by seeing the words so much as a crisis of confidence.
posted by Scattercat at 4:16 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I learned to type on a manual typewriter. Typewriters vary in their end-of-line behaviour. Most ding a bell when you pass a certain point (adjustable to allow for wider or narrower right margins). When you do reach the right margin, some lock the typebars or typeball to prevent you typing off the paper. Others let the keys pile up. Most have a "Margin Release" button that lets you type past the margin to complete a half-typed word. Judging when to end a line is part of learning to type, and after a few months it becomes automatic.

Ilys is of no value to me. I like to see what I have typed and to correct typos on the fly, which is a holdover from my typewriter days when it was easier to correct errors in final copy if you were still on the same line (because you usually could not roll the page back to exactly line up with what you had typed earlier).

My usual technique for overcoming writer's block is to just sit down at the computer and type crap. If my muse arrives, I let her drive. When we come to a natural break, I quickly scroll up and zap the crap.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 4:29 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Draftin.com has a vicious Hemingway mode where you can't delete and must just type and type and type. It's excellent when you need to get past a tricky bit.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:30 PM on November 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Interesting. Kind of a boot-camp writing exercise. Write or die. Rather, write correctly the first time, soldier! A good warm-up for real writing if nothing else.
posted by zardoz at 5:29 PM on November 13, 2014

I know it's not really the same thing but this reminds me of automatic writing. I'd link to an example but I'm typing this in ilys so ha. I've always been curious about these sorts of structured writing techniques designed to, I dunno, recontextualize the act of writing? Get you out of your comfort zone, anyways. I can see why ilys is interesting, though--it's like, freed from the confines of the past, the only thing you can really contemplate is the future. So I guess you just forge on and hope your train of thought makes sense.

Having the word limit also really forces you to hit that limit. For example, I thought I was done after that last paragraph, but apparently I'm only halfway through my 200-word limit. So if nothing else, at the end of this exercise I'll know what it's like to write 200 words almost exactly. You'd think I'd remember this from my days of writing newspaper articles, but there you go.

Anyways. I'd be curious to know if anyone writes fiction or prose this way. I know Trish Keenan of Broadcast used automatic writing techniques to pen most/all of the Broadcast album Haha Sound, which is one of my dfavourite albums of all time, so there must be some merit to forcing yourself to write in unorthodox manners.
posted by chrominance at 5:31 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

This sounds kind of cool. Sometimes when I write I'll obsess over getting something just right and I completely destroy my momentum. Then I just give up. I don't like when that happens, so I'll give this a shot.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:38 PM on November 13, 2014

The most I can offer you right now is the couch with the rip on its arm, the chair set, and the TV table. I know the table has that loose wheel, but I found that putting a sock inside the table leg keeps the wheel in place. OK, I made that last part up. I've never actually ytried that, but it seems liike it would work, doesn;'t it? Also, the cat grew wings. No, it can't f;y. Not yet anyway. I dunno, they're like crow wings I guess? Litttle tufts of fur at the end of them,
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:40 PM on November 13, 2014

Yes, this is bookmarked.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:42 PM on November 13, 2014

Ha, I just wrote a 1000 word story with this thing. It works!
posted by Kevin Street at 5:45 PM on November 13, 2014

Well, this will be an interesting experiment, I suppose, though I've already made one typo that I can remember, which doesn't exactly bode well for the overall success of the project, however that's supposed to be defined (beats me)! At elast I seem to be doing ok at remembering what I've already rwritten, though let's be honest, this ain't particularly complex. Thy typo count sure is skyrocketing, though! God how many fucking words do I need to write still? This is rapidly becoming intolerable. blah blah! Let me outta here! This surely is more than one-hundred and fifty words by now? Only one hundred and six??? Intolerable, I say! I am already bored and I've still got over thirdty words to go. Why did I think that this was a good target number? This experiment, I dare say, is definitely a filure; no doubt about that. More typos, too. Great.
posted by kenko at 5:52 PM on November 13, 2014

This would be AMAZING for NaNoWriMo.
posted by divabat at 6:01 PM on November 13, 2014

Sorry, I can't stop writing now. It's like an addiction.

I discovered two things while writing the story. One is that it's really hard to predict how long a given passage will turn out to be. I started with a 500 word limit, then ran out of words. So I copy and pasted what I had into a new 600 word session, then ran out of words again and tried a 700 word session. Then I ran out of space again, so I clicked on the orange arrow and just kept going until it was done. After you hit the target it lets you edit and continue the writing, and that turned out to be very useful.

The second thing I learned is how much fun it is to edit after the story is finished. I'm one of those obsessive types that continually edits the previous line before going on to the next, which makes writing a real grind most of the time. Doing it this way was hard at first when I had to hit the limit, then it was hard finish the thing. But after it was done, editing turned out to be the best part of the process.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:10 PM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

"All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

This quote seems very apropos of this site.
posted by zardoz at 6:25 PM on November 13, 2014

The way I do password fields when I feel I've made a typo is select-all and start over (or ^U if it's unixy)

I feel that isn't as viable for long-form writing.
posted by aubilenon at 7:46 PM on November 13, 2014

wrothshit would make an excellent band name.
posted by Beti at 9:46 PM on November 13, 2014

40 years ago I operated early phototypesetting equipment that had a preview window showing only the last four or so words typed. A good memory was essential for operating the thing and all copy generated had to be proofed and fixed on a line-by-line basis. Having a good memory for one's typos saved time.

Eventually things progressed to monitors that displayed whole pages of text--a huge improvement.

This brought back memories, and not good ones.
posted by kinnakeet at 1:19 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came up with a similar - but frankly better - system when I was working on my first full length novel. I had a document called 'working.' I could do anything I wanted in it, but once I was done with a given segment, I dumped it into the main draft and didn't touch it until the whole thing was done. Typically, I'd write 500-3000 words at a go, and just... let them go.

It was an amazing improvement over my prior obsessive editing. (This was part of a multi-document system I blogged about, some years back.)
posted by mordax at 1:49 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Darren Aronofsky’s rules for writing:

1. Always move forward. If you have a problem type through it.
2. Only take a break after something good happens on the page or you accomplish a goal. No breaks for confusion (type through it).
3. Ten pages a day minimum.
4. Only go back to add something. Do not remove contradictions, just make a note.
5. Do it. Suffer, live, cry, struggle for one week. You’ll feel like a million bucks by the fifteenth.
6. Have fun.
posted by effbot at 2:49 AM on November 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

all work and no play makes jack a dull boy all work and no play makes jack a dull boy all work and no play makes jack a dull boy all work and no play makes jack a
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:27 AM on November 14, 2014

This has made me crave a thing I didn't know I wanted untill just now.

Where can I (in the UK) buy a roll or paper that will fit into my (manual) trypewriter?

Serious question.

Where can I get roll of paper that is no more than a4 width (21cmm or 8 1/4 inch).

posted by Faintdreams at 3:47 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is my attempt after setting t for a mere 100 words:

I'd like to write 100 words. But, I'm not sire that seeing the words one syllabl at a time is actually condicuse (condusive?) to actuallly creating any kind of flow. I mean it might be a n utter disaster, but as I'm almost a touch typist, then it might actually fors ((force) me to actually think about the flow of what I'm sriting and not pondering wht I've written before - whcih is a kind of on-the-fly-editing. On the other hand it means I'm concentrating onthe keyboard, and not the screen which atually make me make more mistakes when typing. huh,.

I think i'll stick to using my Neo Alphasmart.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:29 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, here's my unedited, unplanned attempt at 200 words (it actually came out to 203):

It was cold. The sort of cold that keeps faculty and students alike in their beds, late into the morning. And so the parking lot of was eerily empty when Ann pulled in. The building, too, was quiet. No one had made offee, so that was the first order of business after handing up here coat. Then the phone rang. An off campus number. Why did it look familiar? The 903 area code. Hmm. Weell, it could be Beth -- what /was/ Beth's number again? Or . . . oh hell. Ann answered the phone. Good morning, this is Ann, how can I help you? Sildence. Nothing but silence on th eother end. No breathing. No white noise. Just silence. "Okay then," Ann said into the phone, and then hung it up. A small thing, but it left her ill at ease. She thought to herself --- no, it occured to her -- that she ought to have written down the number before handing up. "hey, good morning," Mya said, right behind her. "Gah! Ah . . . oh, yeah, good morning, Ann said, smiling weakly. "You Surprised me". Are you okay, asked Mya? You look a little pale. Ann started to reply, but as she turned around, she fainted.
posted by Annabelle74 at 7:56 AM on November 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Where can I get roll of paper that is no more than a4 width (21cmm or 8 1/4 inch).

Teletype paper.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:51 AM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

OMG yaaaaasssss! Need this!
posted by discopolo at 2:42 AM on November 15, 2014

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