Technical Writing ToolBox

A Blog on Technical Writing

Five Best Distraction-Free Writing Tools for your Desktop

As a person who makes his living by writing, I have to admit that writing is hard work. And what makes it even harder are the constant distractions in our workspace. I’m not talking about noisy children, complaining in-laws, and constantly barking neighbor’s dog (although they all distract!). I’m talking about the constant electronic distraction on our computer screen.

The time indicator on the lower right, the calendar on top right, the file icons, and the short-cuts to various programs make it difficult to concentrate on the task in hand: writing. It’s especially hard when you are in midst of a serious case of writer’s block and find ways, rather opportunities, to get distracted to anything but writing.

Just like our home, we put time and effort into creating a utopian workspace only to find out that the beauty of this workspace soon turns into a noisy zone that keep on distracting us from our writing.

The good news is that there are tools (all free!) available to aid you in removing these distractions and moving them out of your sight. These tools hide everything that can get in the way of your writing and allows you to concentrate on your writing. If you already do a lot of writing than you are aware of the tremendous benefits of a distraction-free writing environment. Let’s look at five such distraction free tools for your desktops:

Update (8 May 2012): If you cannot install a distraction free software then consider using an online distraction free text editor.

1. OmmWriter

Cost: Free (base version)

Works on: Mac, Windows, and iPad

Language Support: English

Download Link: http://www.ommwriter.com

OmmWriter website describes it as “a beautiful writing environment that helps you concentrate and create. It has the necessary tools you need to write and manage files, without the distracting elements that you normally find in conventional writing applications. OmmWriter opens in fullscreen mode, and has a number of backgrounds and audio tracks to increase your concentration, and to create an open space where your creativity can roam freely.

I’ve used OmmWriter and have been pretty impressed with its simple yet effective capabilities. The base version is free although you can purchase the paid version (by paying a donation of $4.11 upwards) which has additional audio and visual experiences.

2. Focuswriter

Cost: Free (source code available)

Works on: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X

Language Support: English, Česky, Deutsch, ελληνικά, Español, Español (México), Suomi, Français, Italiano, Polski, Português, Português (Brasil), Русский, Svenska, Українська

Download Link: http://gottcode.org/focuswriter

FocusWriter website describes it as “a simple, distraction-free writing environment. It utilizes a hide-away interface that you access by moving your mouse to the edges of the screen, allowing the program to have a familiar look and feel to it while still getting out of the way so that you can immerse yourself in your work. It’s available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, and has been translated into many different languages.

If you are interested in writing in multiple language than FocusWriter may be an ideal choice for your distraction free writing.

3.  JDarkRoom

Cost: Free

Works on: Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X

Download Link: http://www.codealchemists.com/jdarkroom/index.php

JDarkRoom website describes it as “a popular, simple full-screen text file editor with none of the usual bells and whistles that might distract you from the job in hand. If you are writing a speech, novel, essay, thesis or just need to be able to concentrate on your writing, then JDarkRoom may help you. The development of JDarkRoom was heavily inspired by DarkRoom, an implementation of WriteRoom (which is a Mac-only application) for Windows, but DarkRoom requires the Microsoft .NET framework. I decided to create my own implementation in Java for those that prefer not to use .NET.”

4. Q10

Cost: Free

Works on: Windows

Download Link: http://www.baara.com/q10

Q10 website describes it as “a simple but powerful text editor designed and built with writers in mind. Q10 is small, fast and keeps out of your way. Q10 will clean your kitchen, walk your dog and make excellent coffee. Well, not really. But it’s really good as a full-screen text editor.

5. WriteMonkey

Cost: Free

Works on: Windows

Download Link: http://writemonkey.com

Writemonkey website describes it as “a Windows zenware* writing application with an extremely stripped down user interface, leaving you alone with your thoughts and your words. It is light, fast and free. With an array of innovative tools under the hood, it helps you write better. Editing is for another day …

Have you ever used any distraction-free writing software? Do you plan to use a distraction-free writing software? Leave a comment and let me know.

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13 responses to “Five Best Distraction-Free Writing Tools for your Desktop

  1. shankarswami April 25, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Have been using omm writer for sometime. But if you save a file in their omm format instead of plain txt format available, many times, on reopening the file, we are welcomed with a blank screen; all the data gone. Many times, the data mysteriously reappear the next time! The situation can be very perplexing!
    My caution: use it, but save as txt.

    • Gurpreet Singh April 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Thank you for sharing that tip, Shankar. I appreciate it.

      What is the benefit of saving our work in omm format? I’ve recenlty started using OMMWriter and always saved my work in .txt format.

  2. Sanjeev April 27, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Hi Gurpreet, I really appreciate the time and effort you have invested in maintaining this blog! you are a great source of help and knowledge. True samaritan!

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  4. David Mathi Raj May 2, 2012 at 1:59 am

    Hi, Gurpreet,
    Thanks for the info.
    God Bless you,

  5. Vikas May 2, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Thanks a lot for this info, Gurpreet! This really helps.

  6. Stephanie Puckett May 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Amazing! Thank you so much for finding these tools! And thanks to Shankar for the tip on OMMWriter: that could have been a nasty surprise.

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