Making it happen since 1988

Writing is rewriting.

By Adam Reynolds on Feb 18, 2016

Roald Dahl once said, “Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.”

Given that over 200 million copies of his books have sold, it’s safe to say he knew what he was talking (and writing) about. He’s not the only one. John Updike, Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain all said the same.

The developers of a new writing app called Flowstate obviously didn’t get the memo. With Flowstate you set a timer for a writing session – anything from five minutes to three hours. So far so what? But here’s the catch. Stop typing and your text starts disappearing. Leave the keyboard alone for more than seven seconds and it’s gone for good.

The idea is that it forces you to write and to hell with thinking about it. Just get it down. And don’t stop until your brow sweats, your fingers bleed and your nerves are shredded.

Apparently it’s based on a psychology term for a state of mind in which you disconnect from your sense of self and enter an ultra-focused mode of being. Or just hammer out any old nonsense before the machines wipe it out. While laughing at you through a soft, back-lit glow. Stupid human.

There are two points here. First, while fear can be a powerful motivator, it’s a sure fire way to kill creativity. Second, the best writing comes from the edit. Not some babbling stream of consciousness. It’s the result of countless revision. Careful crafting. Making every syllable earn its place. Brevity, not rambling incoherent gibberish. Because there’s always a more efficient, more effective, more moving, more powerful way to write something. It’s what I once heard called the 92nd minute rule. Anything can change right until the last second. It’s one of the things I love about this job. And the one thing that app sorely misses.