Tools for writing: Distraction-free text editors

Dark RoomI am easily distracted by things on my computer: email, blogging, IM etc. (More tips on how to concentrate on writing in my recent post.) Several people have recommended using a back-to-basics fullscreen word processor. Here are a few alternatives:

I’m going to try writing an article with one of these and I’ll report back on how effective it was.

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18 Responses to Tools for writing: Distraction-free text editors

  1. Nancy Friedman July 9, 2006 at 7:51 pm #

    DarkRoom sounds a lot like the late, much-revered XyWrite, the only word processor developed for writers (journalists, originally) rather than for secretaries. I reluctantly abandoned XyWrite only after I upgraded to the XP OS; it was in almost every respect the perfect writing program. I’m eager to see whether DarkRoom approaches this nirvana!

  2. munkay July 11, 2006 at 8:10 pm #

    Neat idea. For linux users, as an alternative to using the Java program, try the tty[1-6] screens. If you boot straight into X/Gnome/KDE/XFCE/etc, use Ctrl+Alt+F1 for tty1, or Ctrl+Alt+F2 for tty2, and so on until tty5 or 6 depending on your config. These terminals are text only, and once you log in using your usual username/pass, you can use vi or emacs or pico or any other console text editor of choice (mine’s vi) for distraction free writing! And all that without all that Java bloat!

  3. Roy Jacobsen July 12, 2006 at 1:47 am #

    I just started using DarkRoom this week, using it to transcribe an interview, and I’ve found that the totally distraction-free interface is ideal for that particular purpose. I’ve not used it for anything else so far–mos of the projects I’m involved with right now involve a good bit of formatting as well as text manipulation, so I need the rest of the tools that a full WP program offers.

  4. Simon Wakeman July 14, 2006 at 8:38 pm #

    Your experience with being easily distracted tallies with mine!

    I’ve downloaded Dark Room today – and so far I think it’s helping with getting writing done without undue distraction from other things on my PC.

    Thanks for the tip

  5. Karl September 25, 2006 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi, just thought I’d mention for Matthew and anyone else after a full screen and uncluttered Windows based WriteRoom or DarkRoom style app that http://www.MightyFineWork.com do one.

    It also splits the document into chapters for structure purposes, but other than that it does virtually nothing but let you edit.

    It’s actually both a full-screen text editor and still a genuine Windows app!

  6. Bob Gerber July 18, 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    Is this the Simon Wakeman who has a manuscript on Rumi? I want to talk to you about it. (I know Tony Blake)

  7. Desika Nadadur July 21, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi Mathew,

    You have a very informative site. Thanks for the information on the distraction-free editing software. While checking these out, I also found Q10 (http://www.baara.com/q10/). I installed it and briefly tried it. It also looks very good.

    I will be coming back for more of your writing tips.

    Thanks,
    Desika

  8. Desika Nadadur July 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm #

    Hi Matthew,

    Sorry, I missed a ‘t’ in your name. I apologize.

    -Desika

  9. Roberto Pen December 22, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    http://conscience.netsons.org

    a new distraction-free writer in alpha stage of dev.

  10. MV December 31, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    I love DarkRoom, keep it coming.

    Recently I started this new project:

    http://code.google.com/p/coderoom/

    It isn’t as mature as DarkRoom, but it supports syntax highlighting, which I really missed for writing Latex. I’m still using DarkRoom (or PyRoom) for most of my writing though.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    Be a Better Writer…

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