Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Focus on writing!

There are many distractions that are likely to catch your attention while you are supposed to be writing. If you are easily distracted, there are just so many temptations right here on your screen... Confess it: how many times, while you were supposed to be writing, have you wandered off in the internet, checked innecessarily your email, lurked around in some forum, or drifted apart from your task in any other way?

Paradoxically, many users who work with a state-of-the art Mac or Windows computer, with all the visual appeal of modern systems working online, deliberately choose a spartan write-only interface to prevent themselves from getting distracted, making their computers look like one of their almost forgotten ancestors from the early eighties. How? Using a simple program to voluntarily hijack the computer screen for the only purpose of writing. Any distraction is hidden behind an impenetrable wall.

There is a variety of programs with this purpose, such as the (shareware) Writeroom for Macs and (freeware) Darkroom for Windows, each providing a full screen, distraction free, writing environment. Unlike standard word processors that focus on features, they are just about you and your text. Whiteroom is a Mac program, Darkroom needs the .NET framework to run in Windows; then we have a Java application you can run in any platform, called JDarkRoom, which is freeware and a mere 100K download. And there is a more recent favourite: Q10, which is equally portable, installation-free if you want and basically does the same as Writeroom or Darkroom.

So, if one of your problems while trying to focus on writing is getting distracted by all the rest in your computer, isolate yourself from any potential screen temptation with one of these applications! While they are active you can write and only write.

Bonus: if you don't want to install anything, there is an online service by BigHugeLabs, Writer, you can use for similar purposes.


PerView said...

Well well well ... look who is here ... the bad oldy look alike DOS/ascii word processors ... nothing one can't do with MSWord ...

Sarah Hall said...

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1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

My artwork at Flickr

Inspiring books for the creative type

My GTD (Getting things done) illustrations

I conceived this blog basically to share my visual side notes of the Getting things done process. My most recent posts about GTD software and related topics have “masked” the original posts.

You can access most GTDrawings in the archive of december 2005 and january 2006.

Here's a miniature with most of my sketches: this is what you will find, commented and in larger sizes, in those previous posts.

See also the article about GTD drawings.

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