This tree is single handedly curing my writers block.
I recently had an epiphany. Like most people who live on YouTube and are into tech, or writing or have gone through a minimalism phase or have ever Googled the phrase “why is my brain like this please send help please I think it’s dead, the void, it beckons.. hello?”.
Sorry, the brain, this is what I’m talking about. Anyways I had an ‘aha!’ moment, brought about by Ali Abdaal, a productivity wunderkind who manages to stay humble and likeable even though he has a brain and lifestyle we all would kill for. He was talking about productivity apps that have helped him stay focussed and mentioned Forest. Seeing the pleasant graphics and gamified aesthetic I forked out the few dollars fully trusting that this would wrangle my brain into a state of obedience and fully revolutionise my world. And while I don’t think it’s done the latter, I can definitely say that it’s doing incredible things for my writers block and making me think that maybe I never had writers block, just poor focus and no stakes for motivating myself.
It seems silly that I care so much about digital plant life. If you’ve never heard of the app it’s a simple premise, you set a timer and for that allotted time a tree starts to grow, you leave the app the trees withers and dies. And my word, does this simple method work a treat for my imagination who immediately anthropomorphises this little sprout and for the twenty minutes or so that timer is on my only thought is keeping this tree alive by ignoring that call of checking social media or doing a big old doom scroll of the latest and greatest of this season of planet earth.
Ten minutes ago I set a timer, not knowing what I was going to write about today, and then I looked at that little tree and just started writing about how I felt about the effect it was having on my brain, and here we are! Progress! So if you are a writer, or ever need to sit the attention seeking side of your brain in the naughty corner for a few moments to get a few things done without thinking about the lure of the tiny screen then I implore you to check out Forest. Every time you complete a block of time without distraction the tree you grew gets added to a grid and you can watch a forest grow from all the trees you’ve been creating. And while it’s not going to stop you from clicking into a different window on your laptop as you write, I find I’m much less likely to click out of a writing window than I am to pick up my phone and watch Instagram reels for an hour. Sometimes simplicity and the constant threat of murdering an innocent seedling before reaching its prime is all you need to get started creating. What are you favourite methods of keeping focussed?