Get Back in Your Cage! Don’t Make Me Get BlockWriter!

I am referring to my internal editor, who has already made herself very outspoken about the drivel I’ve churned out my attempt for NaNoWriMo so far. This early in the month, I shouldn’t be having these kind of feelings. But alas, she’s here already, tutting and pointing, mumbling the likes of: ‘You could move that sentence over there, delete that bit there, who cares about that bit?’.

I’ve done well so far, well-set in the mentality that I have to just write forward. I shouldn’t be re-reading really anything that I’ve written already; all I’ll want to do is reword, replace or remove it. And I know that. It’s only a draft. Even if it’s shabbier than a tramps underpants, once I’ve it written down, at least I have something to work on. And besides, 9/10 times I come back to what I’ve done a few days/weeks later and think ‘actually, it’s not that bad’.
So anyway, I’ve been looking for something that will help keep me in this forward mindset, and there’s a few things that have…well, without sounding too much like a cheesy advert…have enhanced my entire writing experience.
First off, there’s good ol’ Scrivener for the Mac, which I can’t praise enough, and have done regularly. It’s an amazing piece of software, which does pretty much everything I need to keep whatever I’m working on. It’s like doing it the old fashioned way; you put your scraps, your hand-written (scanned in, obviously; it’s not that clever), photos, videos, clippings and every other random bit of whatever that I’ve come across, and it stores it in a single file, which–suitably enough–is called a the Binder. It uses index cards to sort out each of your scenes, making it stupidly easy to rearrange bits that are fitted elsewhere.

The index cards are not locked to anything–you can move them around within the binder as suits your story.

There’s so much more to it, as well (without going into too much of I “I Heart Scrivener” campaign or anything). It’s all just so…jazzy. It was enough to make me buy TWO Macs just for this software.
So, yes, Scrivener is amazing. I worship KB (the creator) and the ground he walks on. But there is still something missing. For all its bells and whistles, I still get that nagging little voice in the back of my head telling me to go back and change something. It helps that everything is cut into scenes, as I can only see what I’ve literally just written, but I do still fall prey of the paragraph-by-paragraph edit.
That’s where these tiiiiiiiiiny little free applications comes into play. BlockWriter was actually a piece of concept software dreamt up in the mind of Khoi Vinh, whereby your machine literally becomes like a typewriter. So you have a document, like in any text editors, but here’s the thing. You can only type forward. Attempting to go back in the document just messes up the rest of your work.

What I’m doing for now is writing in BlockWriter, and when I’m done, copy/pasting it into Scrivener. That way, I’m getting the best of both worlds. There are a few drawbacks to the software, such as how it won’t save in simple TXT format and instead chooses to save them in RTF and only allows it with some silly shadow effect on it, but whatever. Minor niggles that don’t compare the ability to shove internal editor back in her cage and start poking her with a stick.
It works for me, at least.
Now, I have had BlockWriter for quite a while. I had it back before I started having all my problems on the MacBook, which is a good 12 months ago now. Thing is, I can’t exactly remember where I got it from. I suspect KB or someone else on LiteratureandLatte might have given mocking the software up a go. Either way, the long and short of it is that I can’t find a link to it. But, since it’s ridiculously tiny, I’ve put it up on my own site: Download BlockWriter (ZIP Format) So if anyone wants it…there you go. (This one will ONLY WORK ON A MAC. Read on if you’re using Windows.)
Also, there is now a version for Windows. Funnily enough, the guy who’s made BlockWriter for Windows was also tempted into buying a Mac for the fact that it had this software, only later to discover that it was indeed only concept software. So what did he do? Made it himself, of course!
Since I hadn’t seen this version up to this point, so I thought I’d give it a try. Basically, what you have in this version is WriteRoom for the Mac, but without the backspace button. See what I’ve tried to write up here:

As frustrating as it can be, it still propels you forward in the writing front, which has got to be worth something. More than that, the software is actually available for free, which you can find here: Download (.exe file) More Info
So anyway, that’s what I’m trying to beat my inner editor down with. Has it worked so far? Well I’m pushing over the 2k mark for Vampire’s Son on day 1, so here’s hoping! It’s early days yet, and only time will tell.