[Mac OS X] Stop pressing the ‘Delete’ key with Don’t Look Back

Screen shot 2013-06-15 at 4.37.09 PMIn high school English class, you were probably subjected to at least one class where you learning about “stream of consciousness” writing. This writing exercise helps people be more creative by simply writing everything that comes into your head, and following your thoughts to their most logical (or illogical) conclusions. Once you get the hang of it, stream of consciousness writing can be a good way to clear your mind before starting your work day, or a clever way to boost your brainstorming power. If you want to increase your own creative, stream of consciousness flow while working at your Mac, Don’t Look Back may give you just the push you require.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Don’t Look Back is a very simple Mac app that prevents you from using the delete key. This helps to prevent self-defeating, self-editing behavior.

Pros

  • Delete key “no-no” noise can be turned off
  • Simple way to unlock creative potential

Cons

  • Hasn’t been updated since its initial launch in 2011
  • App must be turned off to resume normal delete functions in web browsers and other tools (this is obvious, but many people have complained about this)
  • Works with many common word processors, text editors, and even screenwriting software
  • Menu bar icon doesn’t make it clear whether app is active or disabled

Discussion

mzl.loydajfz.800x500-75If you need a tool that can almost single-handedly get you into the “write now, edit later” mindset, Don’t Look Back is pretty much exactly what you have been looking for. This simple tool trains users to just get the words down on paper, and worry about making them perfect at a later date. It’s pretty darn liberating.

Let’s be honest: it’s impossible to write anything if you are constantly being interrupted. Don’t Look Back lets users build up a flow, get into a groove, and produce voluminous manuscripts.

If you are skeptical about the big benefits that making such a tiny change can really bring about, I have this to say. Eliminating the ability to use your delete key really works. Last summer, I got together with three friends to create a real-time, mutlimedia arts project. Two of us played improvisational piano, while the other two wrote a story in real-time with the music. The writers weren’t allowed to delete more than five spaces back, and it really made a huge difference in terms of  both writing speed and writing creativity. Not being able to delete your text can force you to own up to mistakes, or move past them more quickly.

Conclusion and download link

Don’t Look Back might annoy some people, but it’s the perfect tool for anyone who needs to write without self-editing. Not being able to use the delete key makes this app a great choice for brainstorming, getting thoughts down for a report or research paper, or for keeping writers on task in order to meet the NaNoWriMo word count minimum.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.0

Supported OS: OS X 10.6 or later

Download size: 0.3 MB

Don’t Look Back on Mac App Store

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