Safe, Guilt-Free Online Resources for the Addictive Writer

Last night I did the unthinkable. Or the un-thought-out.

I stumbled upon StumbleUpon, joined, and stumbled upon websites I would be better off not knowing about. I could click click click for hours, and did. Quotations. The Pre-Raphaelites. Cats…

One site, however, has oodles of redeeming creative value–so many oodles, in fact, that I wanted to pass the word. Once I began, I thought of other worthwhile online resources that have been shared with me.

So here, beginning with the stumbledupon, are four places any writer battling a surfing habit can visit safely and without guilt.

Oneword offers a one-word prompt–and then sixty seconds in which to write–on the site itself. You can use the site free or join–free. If you join, you can submit what you’ve written to a members-only page. You also get access to the archive of words.

Oneword is social media site, if you want to use it as such. I’m interested in seeing what I can write in only 60 seconds. And in finding out whether I improve with practice. And in stumbling upon a few lines that spark an idea for a story. Here’s what I wrote tonight using the word placed.

Tacos
Tacos (Photo credit: YardSale)

placed

He placed the plate on the table in front of her.

Tacos? she said. They’ll crumble and spill all over my dress.

Why’d you wear white? he said.

Men, she thought. They don’t understand anything.

Write or Die allows you to set goals–# of words and # of minutes–plus consequences and a grace period if you fail to hit your targets. Choice of consequence and grace period comprise such words as gentle/normal/kamikaze/electric shock and forgiving/strict/evil.

I’ve used this site several times when I needed external stimulation; at one particular setting, if you pause too long to think, the backspace function starts eating the words you’ve already written. It’s fun if you’re not the anxious type. If you are, set it at the lowest levels. (Scroll down till you see the free Web App Online, unless you want to pay for a download to your desktop.)

Written? Kitten! (writtenkitten.net) gives you a picture of a kitten every time you complete your target word count: 100, 200, 500, or 1000. No restriction on time. Strictly reward, no punishment. No words are gobbled up. Great for cat lovers, but if cats give you the fantods, skip it.

Note that Written? Kitten! is a dot net, not a dot com like the other sites described here. If you look for dot com, you’ll find something you don’t want.

Rescuetime tracks the sites and programs you use and analyzes your productivity. To use the site, you must join, but it’s free. RescueTime gives you points (+, 0, -) for the sites you use during each accounting period. You can reset values–for instance, you may designate your blog site as productive for +2 points rather than as entertainment (social media, -2 points). You can also target when you want RescureTime to track–if you write in the afternoon, set it to track just the afternoon. Check how productive you are by by day, week, month.

There’s a great deal of information here, lots of graphs and charts, more than you need if all you want tracked is time you’re writing/not writing. Still, it can be an eye-opener.  So far, it’s told me I’m a first-class slacker, but that was less of an eye-opener than a confirmation. Which is why I’m using RescueTime.

Have you found any online resources that aid your writing or creativity? Would you share?

8 thoughts on “Safe, Guilt-Free Online Resources for the Addictive Writer”

  1. I too love Stumbleupon….Alas: my favourite resource was another blogger called Side View, http://viewfromtheside.wordpress.com, who provided a machiavellian weekend theme every week, year in, year out. As they say in Puff The Magic Dragon, nothing lasts forever, and Sidey has ceased to post themes, and I am beside myself because they were the best themes on the internet.

    *sniff* Thanks for listening.

  2. We find Twitter one of the best resources because it encourages great writing in just a few succinct words. It carries on day after day so you keep refining your skills and looking at what goes down well for a very public readership. Very cool resource.

  3. I want one about Pre-Raphaelite cats. I will check out Stumbledupon. I subscribe to Querytracker.com because it has so many useful, encouraging things to say to writers.

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