Group test

Dis­trac­tion-free writ­ing apps to help boost your cre­ativ­ity

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

With any task, there’s a cer­tain amount of be­ing ‘in the zone’. When you’re dis­tracted, you lose your train of thought and then spend the next fif­teen min­utes think­ing about pen­guins when you should be work­ing. With any task, that’s bad enough; with writ­ing, it can feel like all of those amaz­ing ideas that were tum­bling out of your brain, chan­nelled through your fin­gers to the dig­i­tal page, have de­cided to in­stead tum­ble into the ether, never to be seen again.

Dis­trac­tions can come in the form of peo­ple, but the Mac also needs to take some of the blame. It was Ap­ple that pop­u­larised the mul­ti­ple-win­dow sys­tem, mean­ing you could have two, three, four, or even seven­teen apps on the go at once, all fight­ing for at­ten­tion. And even if you in a wide-eyed state of hys­te­ria get an app into full-screen mode, shut off all no­ti­fi­ca­tions and hide in a cup­board, there’s no guar­an­tee your writ­ing app’s in­ter­face won’t tempt you. Af­ter all, look at those pretty colours! And those tool­bars! And all those for­mat­ting op­tions! Forget about writ­ing for a minute — how about making that head­line look like it fell out of a mag­a­zine?

Enough! It’s time to take writ­ing back from apps that tempt, largely by hit­ting the rewind but­ton and par­ty­ing like it’s 1979, but with a lit­tle added smarts. Here, then, we have six apps that aim to give you a dis­trac­tion-free writ­ing en­vi­ron­ment that’s all about you, your words, and not a whole lot else. That might sound re­duc­tive and lim­it­ing, but it’s sur­pris­ing to see the vari­ance in how each app ap­proaches ef­fi­ciency. Some have a very take-it-or-leave-it stance, while oth­ers are rather more con­fig­urable, en­abling you to bend the app (at least a lit­tle) to your will.

In our tests, we delve into each app’s in­ter­face, for­mat­ting sup­port and doc­u­ment man­age­ment. We want ef­fi­ciency and el­e­gance, a touch of flex­i­bil­ity and, if pos­si­ble, a dash of beauty. Note also that you may see Fo­cused on the in­ter­net un­der its for­mer name of Typed. Craig Grannell

Take writ­ing back from apps that tempt by hit­ting the rewind but­ton and par­ty­ing like it’s 1979

1 By­word

£8.99 by­wor­

2 iA Writer



3 $5 (about £3, do­na­tion­ware)




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