Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Written? Kitten!

The Sleeping Geek Kitten - Angers -

We’ve talked before about ways to get yourself to write. There are tools to help minimize distractions, and even tools like Write or Die that dole out punishment if you don’t keep the words flowing. But what is all you need is some positive motivation?

That’s where Written? Kitten! enters the picture. Written? Kitten! is a free web-based writing tool. And yeah, the punctuation there is correct. As you type, the site periodically rewards you with… wait for it… a picture of a cute kitten. You choose your level of feline reward—every 100, 200, 500, or 1000 words. Perfect for those of us who work better with positive reinforcement.

Why kittens? Why not kittens? Actually, cats may be more helpful to the writing process than you might think. Here’s the famously prolific Muriel Spark’s advice on upping your production:

If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work, I explained, the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp. The light from a lamp, I explained, gives a cat great satisfaction. The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.

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