Deadlines are extremely effective at solving writer's block. However, it's tough to set and stick to your deadlines.
Build a writing tool that schedules your draft blog post to be tweeted out automatically on the deadline day. Make it difficult to back out of, and successfully enforce a self-imposed deadline.
This tool only made light use of the Buffer API, so I decided to build it quickly with a code-free approach. It mainly used Bubble for the frontend, logic and database, their API connector, [Zapier](http://zapier.com, and Buffer's Twitter API. The logic was straightforward: connect to the user's Twitter account through Buffer, ask for their deadline and draft blog post URL (from WordPress or Medium) and then schedule a tweet in our system. To prevent them from seeing it and being able to delete it from their Buffer dashboard, the tweet was saved in our database and sent to Buffer only at the moment before publishing. For testing, there was a "are you sure you want to remove this" button behind a popup, so a user could delete a deadline if they made a mistake.
I launched on Product Hunt and within a few subreddits related to writers. The reaction was optimism and hope, and as you can read below, that doesn't always lead to great outcomes.
Why it failed:
My biggest mistake with this product was placing too much value on the encouragement of optimistic users. When I validated the idea, I talked with writers and blog owners that were genuinely excited to have a solution to their inability to hit deadlines. I even had potential users say they'd be willing to pay to cancel deadlines, which was a similar business model to an existing app that had traction, Go Fucking Do It.
When I opened up the site for users and sent an email out, I saw around 100 signups, but no deadlines set in the app. That was my first warning, and like any naive founder married to an idea, I plowed ahead in spite of this troubling evidence.
I spent another few weeks getting the product ready for launch, and despite great feedback on Product Hunt and another few hundred signups, only a handful of deadlines were getting scheduled.
At this point, I emailed a few users and asked why they hadn't scheduled deadlines. I got a litany of excuses in the response. "Love the product, just waiting to get a blog post idea worth publishing" "Will use it soon!" "Need to start writing lol."
It started to dawn on me that the product was expecting too much of its users. Like a gym membership that only charges when people show up, my model was not realistic. While people genuinely want to set their deadlines, they won't press the button when it's time. Procrastination and fear take over, and those are hard to fight with software alone.