4 Great Programs for Staying Focused while Writing

These 4 great programs are designed to help writers focus on their writing, stay productive and do away with distractions.

Anybody who has ever done a bit of writing on their computer knows that staying focused is a struggle in itself.

In the old days writers pounded away at the keys on a typewriter, focusing on the clicks and clanks of the keys hitting the paper. Nowadays however it is the computer that most writers, whether bloggers, students, novelists, journalists or what have you, turn to in order to get their words on paper.

The problem with writing on the computer is that it is a machine designed for distraction. Instant Messages beep, emails flood in, Twitter feeds update and the wide wide world of the Internet threatens to pull you away for hours at a time. Luckily for us there are a number of great applications available, some free some not, that can help writers focus on writing, check over here.

1. Self Control (Free/Mac OSX): This is a wonderful little program that forces you to stay off the Internet. Self Control works by blocking certain websites from being accessed for a predetermined amount of time. You start by telling Self Control which sites to block, or which to allow, and then setting how long you want it to block those sites. Once your press the start button there is no going back. The sites you have chosen will remain blocked until the timer runs out. Quitting the program or even restarting your computer wont help, the sites are blocked and you are forced to focus until the timer runs out.

Staying Focused while Writing

2. iA Writer ($17.99/Mac OSX): What started out as a great word processors for the iPad has finally become a great desktop application. iA Writer works by removing the clutter and confusion of modern word processors. There are no options for messing with the font or formatting or anything like that. iA Write’s top features are a full screen mode that effectively turns your screen into a big blank sheet of paper and a “focus mode” which fades out all the lines except for the last three that you have written and keeps your current line in the center of the screen. The point of iA Writer is to help you get your words down first, you can worry about editing later.

3. Omm Writer (Free & Paid Versions/Mac OSX & PC): Omm writer takes the same fullscreen minimalists approach of iA Writer and pairs it with a relaxing environment. Omm Writer gives users a choice of different minimalist watercolor painting inspired backgrounds as well as a choice of different ambient music tracks. The pairing of the fullscreen minimalist writing platform (Omm writer only works in fullscreen) and the relaxing music and backgrounds makes Omm Writer a great application for anyone who likes to write in a simple calming environment.

4. Byword ($9.99/Mac OSX): Byword is another minimalist writing application. Like iA Writer Byword offers up a screen covering fullscreen mode as well as a focus mode that fades out all lines except for the ones you are working on, you can set how many lines to keep in focus. Unlike iA Writer, Byword does offer a number of formatting features, such as alignment and font style. Byword is great for those looking for a minimalist writing platform that still allows for some formatting work.