Shut off your backspace!

(In which I experiment with “Hemingway Mode”, which shuts off the backspace so that writers can quit worrying about editing and just emit text. I implemented it in VIM https://github.com/lgalke/vim-ernest. But I think the Freewrite fancy keyboard has it, as does Writemonkey and FocusWriter. )


iThis is Ernest mode on vim. It’s the Ernest Hemingway mode that disallows the backspace. All I can do is keep writing. No editig! Crap I mispelled that last word. Oh well.

Keep going! Keep writing! Keep generating content! That’s what we all need to do these days, especially if we are niche internet micro-celebrities. Keep the monter fed or die.

On the other hand, there’s a probl/em that is very common to creators. The internal critic. The vocie in your head that says “his is no good.” “Who do you think you are? This is no good. DHon’t press ‘publigsh’.” Being able to edit makes some of lus less likely to write.

Have you ever noticed yourself playing with fonts, margins, formatting? Do you pore over lists of the best pencils or notebooks? Doe you look for the perfect scritch of the pencl on the page? Buy one more gadget and you’ll write that novel!

That’s all a lie. The real problem is that you don’t want to twriet. AT leasvt you don’t want to write enough to make it happen. It might be that you are suffuring from ‘soloth’, the medieval vice of sadness in the face of the good, probably because of th e effort it would require. THe work that you need to do will be actual work, and therefore require much of you. IUt would beb etter, you secretly think, not ot do it at all. But rather than say that honestly, you futs around trying to make everything perfect before you start.

I am writing this post on Vim, my favorite text editor, which I fourd after much searching trying to find perfection. Even so, it’s pretty perfect. I am using something called the “Ernest” mode, which turns off all the beackspace and editing commands. You can onlny keep tyining. I think I like it. I have many errors, but I also have an essay.

Now aI can’t backspace, so if I make a mistake it is there . darn it. But I can keeep writing.