Stay Focused With These Distraction-Free Writing Tools

Stay Focused With These Distraction-Free Writing Tools

Laura E. Hall
Mar 18, 2011

There's nothing quite like the feeling of that perfect union of concentration and productivity known as flow, and the constant presence of the internet, IMs, email and smart phones can easily pull you out of it. These three writing tools are great for helping block out all the noise when all you want to want to see are words and a screen.

We like to outline our writing with a pen and paper, but when the time comes to really get down to it, only our typing fingers can go as fast as our brain.

These three programs are all essentially the same; they all blot out the background of your screen and present unvarnished walls of text as you type. But they all offer varying levels of customization, so it's worth trying them out to see which one you prefer.

FocusWriter (free, all)

FocusWriter by open source programming outfit GottCode works for Windows and Mac OS X (and Linux, Fedora and Gentoo), and is free, with a tip jar on the page for the developer.

Focus Writer lets you set up multiple environments with fonts, colors and background images, and has multiple tabs. We're fans of the daily goals and live statistics features, the former of which keeps going even past 100% so that you can continue to challenge yourself.

WriteRoom (Mac OS X, $24.99 and iPhone, $4.99)

WriteRoom is the most spartan of the three, with the least amount of customization available. You don't even get to change the fonts. But this is a good thing - you aren't distracted trying to select the most perfect options available, you just knuckle down and write.

WriteRoom uses SimpleText to sync all your text between your Mac, iPhone and the web, for an extra level of simple, automatic convenience.

OmmWriter Dana (Mac OS X, Windows)

We covered and loved the beta version of OmmWriter, and now it's better than ever with its two Dana versions. Dana I is free for those wishing to sample all OmmWriter has to offer, which is a fullscreen writing environment with lots of customization, including meditative backgrounds and audio tracks like ocean sounds and other relaxing spa-like music. Dana II has new and lovely background images and audio tracks for those who would like to expand their OmmWriter experience.

Do you use any of these writing environments? Let us know which one is your favorite, and if they help you get more done, in the comments.

(Image: Flickr member Auntie P licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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