Writer’s block is a made-up excuse for not doing your work (at least as diagnosed by comedian Jerry Seinfeld). But what if you really just need some input from other people to get your ideas moving?
New creative-writing app Coda is offering some assistance for people looking for a little help with their words. The iOS app lets you ask your friends or its community for input on your next sentence, verse, or whatever you’re writing.
While others can contribute to different people’s work, the author ultimately decides whose changes get merged into the original document, just like in GitHub or Draft. Users login with their Twitter accounts.
Coda isn't the first app for writers, but it might be the best one yet on iOS. Help Me Write is another community of people offering help writing, but the app is web-only. That service takes a different approach, helping you choose which of your ideas people are most interested in reading about before you waste time writing something irrelevant.
If you’re getting the uneasy feeling that all this writing "help" could create a content arms race, then that makes two of us. As more apps and services provide good ways for people to express their creative ideas, a vicious cycle could develop in which readers' expectations float steadily higher as average writers leverage more and more technology just to force their writing to make the grade.
Similar tools are popping up for amateur photographers too. An app called OkDoThis is like Instagram for those who aren’t sure what to shoot; members of the app community suggest things to photograph and then the user goes out and does it. Does that still count as creativity?