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By Thom Kudla

HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT was designed to deliver on author Thom Kudla’s belief that anyone can become a writer, as long as they develop effective practices. Accordingly, HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT works to promote and foster regular daily habits through daily reading, writing, and response prompts.

The experience of reading and using HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT is difficult to describe, partly because it is a hands-on app experience, and partly because the prompts are based on Kudla’s previous book of poems and short meditative reflections, How I Am Different.

When most reader-users open HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT , they will open onto its calendar view. Each day offers two different excerpts from How I Am Different, an option to write an entry, and a list of entries already written. The app also includes the option to read the entirety of How I Am Different, the option to dictate moods according to the day, and the option to view stats that show longitudinal moods and writing time.

There is much to laud in HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT . First, for those interested in the life-perfecting promise of tech and tech-enhanced tracking, the app’s tools will help the reader-user convert reading time into writing time. Second, the app offers multiple ways to engage with and be inspired by the material. For example, reader-users can read and respond to the daily prompts or read randomly selected excerpts from How I Am Different. Reader-users will also be inspired by the How I Am Different project, which is also a model of response-based writing. Simply put, the app requires an active response from its reader-users, and that response helps convert readers into writers by engaging them and promoting their daily writing habits.

Some of these strong points can also function as weaknesses. For example, the excerpts from How I Am Different are inherently freeform and reflective. While this works well within the context of that response-based project, in HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT , the excerpts are so freeform they may not always motivate a response. In addition, the app requires a level of tech-comfort not all aspiring writers have. Many writers may find themselves using the app with a pen and paper in hand or may use different pieces of the app for inspiration rather than making better use of the tracking feature. For some, this will be a welcome intersection of tech and analogue; for others, it will be a distraction.

Thom Kudla’s smart enhanced ebook, HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT, creatively responds to our app-happy zeitgeist by offering a reading and writing tool that will inspire writing habits amongst aspiring tech-savvy writers.

~Molly Gage for IndieReader