6 Tools To Write Without Being Distracted


For us bloggers, it’s not always an easy task to stay focused on our writing, when there are so many things to distract us in the online world: YouTube videos, Facebook notifications… Most word processing softwares have so many options, toolbars, useless things that finally restrain us from being as productive as we could be… That’s why I made this selection of 6 distraction-free writing tools to help you focus on what really matters.

ZenPen – www.zenpen.io

Price: Free
Platform: Online

One of the simpliest tool. Just go to www.zenpen.io, erase the default text and start typing! There are 4 buttons on the left side: full screen, invert colors, set keyword count and save text.
The ‘Set keyword count’ feature allows you to set a particular word count. When the word count is reached, a thin green line appears on the right side of your browser.
You can save your text to your computer. 3 formats are supported: Markdown, HTML or plain text.
Formatting your text is very easy: just highlight a snippet and a little toolbar will appear, allowing you to insert an hyperlink, make the text bold or italic, or insert quotes.

Calmly Writer – www.calmlywriter.com
Price: $2.99 (Chrome Web Store) – Free (Online Version: http://calmlywriter.com/online)
Platform: Chrome

An app developped for the Chrome browser that also works offline. A slightly more options than ZenPen: You can add HTML heading tags (h1, h2, h3), list tags or insert a picture. You also have word and character count. With the free version, you can only save your text in a proprietary Calmly Writer format, but the paid app lets you save in markdown, plain text or HTML. You can also open .docx documents.
The thing I like with Calmly Writer is the focus mode, that blurs your text except the paragraph you are working on, in order to stay well concentrate.
And because it’s a Google app, it works with Google drive to automatically save your work.

Price: Free
Platform: Online

A very minimalist writing space, with no formatting options whatsoever. You can set a personal url to bookmark your working space and set a password to protect it.
Very useful to take notes on-the-go while browsing the web.

JDarkRoom – www.codealchemists.com/jdarkroom
Price: Free
Platforms: Windows – Mac – Linux (Java required)

A very 80’s monochrome style writing application! Nevertheless, it is packed with a lot of interesting features: you can change the color space (black, blue or purple background), load a specific file on startup, text search, auto-save backups… But beware: the latest version of the software has been released in 2010.

Write! – https://wri.tt
Price: Free
Platform: Windows

A very stylish interface that invites you to relax and just… write. This ‘writing instrument for the digital age’ is nevertheless full of features to make your writing process a breeze: tabs that allow you to work on several documents at the same time, writing sessions (all your tabs are saved simultaneously), autocomplete your phrases (based on the structure of your document), unlimited undo (even if your document has been closed and reopened several times), customizable spellchecking (choose the language you want. You can even mix several languages in the same document!). Definitely one of the best!

Price: Free
Platform: All

Yes, WordPress has a distraction-free mode! Just click the little icon below the ‘text’ tab in the text editor, and you will activate the ‘distraction-free writing mode’. In this mode, once you start writing, everything around the writing space disappears, leaving you with your inspiration. You can still access the toolbar by moving your mouse around. But you can go further: toggle the full-screen mode on your browser (F11 on most browsers), and you’ll have an even more zen writing space. And don’t worry about saving your work: the auto-save feature on WordPress will do the job for you.

There are a lot more distraction-free writing tools to be found. Tell us if you’ve found some other interesting tools that are worth mentioning!


6 Responses

  1. Cathy

    November 30, 2015 4:17 pm

    Hi there David,

    I have been wanting to search for non-distractive writing tools and I am glad that you have compiled a good list here for me. I am currently using Google Docs, whereby I increase the percentage view to 150% so that it fits nicely to all the four borders – except for a tiny distraction of the tool bars on the top, which is not a big deal. I like it for it’s autosaving mode though.

    But like any adventurous blogger, I am always craving to try out new tools. I really like the feel of ZenPen and will certainly consider using it. Meanwhile, I am looking at JDarkRoom and wondering how can anyone write effectively on a dark background. Hmm…interesting.

    • David

      November 30, 2015 8:07 pm

      Thanks Cathy. Yes I like ZenPen a lot too. Having no distraction while writing really boost my creativity and helps me stay focused. A must-have for any blogger!

  2. Andre Daniel

    November 30, 2015 4:47 pm

    Oh I definitely understand the need to type distraction free. I often go to the library to concentrate on what I need to complete myself. Personally, I am comfortable with my standard Notepad or Google Docs editor but these tools offer a wider solution for those who have particular persuasions.

    I was surprised to see some even offer you the ability to edit HMTL. This is something Notepad or Google docs doesn’t provide I believe at the time of writing this. I do believe you can view html files however.

    I checked out the Calmly writer and I liked it. Simple and it somehow has an attractive layout.

  3. Boyo

    February 1, 2016 12:55 pm

    Thanks for providing this useful list. I’ve always found it difficult to sit down and write – any distractions at all and I can lose all concentration. Simple blog posts can take sometimes take a few hours each, definitely not the best use of my time!
    To date I have always just hit the distraction free toggle in WordPress itself. I like the fact that it automatically saves my work periodically. Does Zenpen offer an auto save function? I only ask as on other platforms I have forgotten to save my work as I go.

    • David

      February 1, 2016 1:09 pm

      Thanks for your comment Boyo! I don’t think Zenpen has an autosave feature. It is a very minimal writing tool, but it’s easy to save your work with the little disk icon on the left. Happy writing!


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