In the process of poking around teh internetz the other day looking for a way to solve some obscure issue I had with Scrivener, because I can totally be counted on to make complicated software even more so, I happened across Write or Die. Obviously I stopped and monkeyed with it because I'm easily distracted, and that's why Write or Die exists. Are you the type who tries to buckle down and do one thing for a stretch of time but can't because Twitter? Yeah, me too.
Write or Die has one goal: to force you to apply butt to chair and write, and only write. If you stop writing, consequences are swift and varyingly dire. Set a word-count or time goal and pick how dire you want your punishment to be (I've been afraid to try "Kamikaze" yet). Also set how long of a grace period you want. No staring at the ceiling for too long, waiting for inspiration to strike!
I immediately tried the Web app because it's free, and the concept ensnared me. It reminded me of creative writing class from junior high school when my teacher timed us. I waxed nostalgic with the odor of a No. 2 pencil and chalk! And guess what: the technique still works. If you force yourself to keep writing, without judgment or editing, even if you write things like "I'm stuck right now," words do appear on the page.
But if you DON'T keep writing, tragic events occur to inspire you.
Write or Die has an iPad app for $4.99 which looks very pretty but which I did not buy because I prefer to write on my Air. Happily, it has a desktop version for $10. It runs on Adobe Air and is ugly, but it does its job and can run across platforms.
It's a brilliantly simple concept and has been well implemented.