The polarizing new writing tool, Flowstate, billed as “the most dangerous app,” is now available in the App Store for OS X and iOS. Flowstate works by allowing people to commit to distraction-free writing sessions, in turn creating ideal conditions for entering a state of heightened focus known as “flow.”
Most people have experienced “flow” at some point, artists and athletes especially, but know it as being “in the zone,” a time when deep concentration enabled them to block out distractions while performing a task at a high level. Flowstate helps you reach that state with a combination of minimalist design and rules that govern each writing session.
To begin a flow, you simply select a font and duration for the session and write for the entire time without pausing for more than five seconds. Stick to your goal and write until the timer expires and the app will save your work. Fail to write for the entire session, or pause for too long, and your text will fade away unsaved. Flowstate is suitable for writing anything from song lyrics to a novel, and by rising to the challenge it imposes, you trigger a sort of relaxed mindfulness that enhances focus and creativity.
The app is launching at the culmination of nearly three years of development and rigorous beta testing across groups that include English professors, notable screenwriters, and a variety of students. They largely observed that during finishing a flow, regardless of how the writing turned out, they experienced a sense of excitement– ecstasy even– in their heightened capabilities. Given this reaction, the creators refer to it as “a drug.”
Accompanying the app’s launch is an inspiring companion commercial, depicting the evolution of writing over time. The piece is directed by Flowstate co-creator and filmmaker Caleb Slain, known for beating out major agencies to direct Microsoft’s Surface launch video and for his viral Philip Seymour Hoffman tribute.
Flowstate is the first in a series of apps planned by Overman, to be followed by the first turn-based writing game, “Raven,” and the internet regulator “Zen.” Like its inaugural app Flowstate, Overman’s mission is to harness obstruction as mechanism for productivity and creativity, building a family of provocative and disruptive intentions.
Flowstate is the first release from Overman, an obstruction company.