There’s an app for that

Publish or perish

For many writers, the actual process of writing occupies the scant negative space between distractions. And with today’s daily barrage of texts and push notifications dinging and pinging in the periphery every few seconds, it’s become difficult to devote attention to one screen, let alone one idea.

A new writing app called Flowstate seeks to create a “sacred space” for writers through a clever combination of tough love and trendy ephemerality. After setting a timer for one’s session and picking from a slim selection of fonts, Flowstate launches a clean, minimal space to compose.

The catch? Once you start, so does the timer. Stop writing for longer than five seconds and the words you’ve written begin to fade like McFlys from a family photo. The only way to preserve your work is to press forward and keep writing until your time is up. (Then you can save it for later, export it for editing, or delete it for good.) This constant creeping threat of deletion may sound cruel and unusual, but the philosophy behind Flowstate is actually refreshingly sage and coachy: “The way out is through.”


PRO: On the one hand, an app that draws a clear distinction between writing and editing, forces you into “the zone” and keeps you there, and eliminates all outside distractions is the app easily-waylaid writers everywhere have been waiting for.

CON: On the other hand, this thing is 10 bucks. If you really want to spend money on foxy technology that erases your work, you could just buy a MacBook.


Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.