Distraction-free writing apps to help boost your creativity
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
2 iA Writer
3 $5 (about £3, donationware)