At GenCon last week, at one of the writing panels, I sat behind someone who was taking notes on their really sweet Apple Macpro Air Jordan Tigerbond, or whatever they’re called. I don’t think I can even afford to know its proper name. And I couldn’t help but notice that the text editor he was using was extremely cool. No bars or ribbons or icons or buttons anywhere–just a nice, pleasing full-screen image and the text situated in the center third of the screen without borders. Really nice. I was afraid it was going to be some Apple proprietary software.
When the panel ended, I risked being rude and asked him what it was he was using. Happily, he told me it was Omm Writer, a free (for the older version) or super-cheap, pay-what-you-will (for the latest version) distraction-free editor. But what’s even cooler, it’s available for PC in addition to Mac! … except I use Linux. Except I do have a PC with Windows that I only use to convert documents into files Amazon will accept for their e-book store. (Stupid Kindle issues with Tables of Contents.)
So, using the best frakkin’ Web site ever created, Alternative To, I followed some links and reviews until I came upon FocusWriter. It’s also a for-donations application that actually works on Mac, Windows, and Linux! And indeed, as people on LifeHacker and the NaNoWriMo boards have said, it’s an amazing no-distraction editor! You can set timers/goals, such as how much time you want to write or by word count; basic rich text formatting; typewriter keypress sounds (little things make a difference). And what I really like, is you can download themes, quick and easy, and modify them. Then, you can switch among them based on whichever story you’re working on. My current young adult fantasy novel, I use “Leathers,” for my Eclipse Phase fanfic, I use “Bladerunner – Cockpit,” for a horror story I’m working on, I switch to “Midnight Dreary,” and for the contemporary lit novel I’m playing around with, I use a somber “Winter Afternoon.” They really help one’s mindset for that story.
So, I spent about an hour on that instead of writing. And now I’m spending time writing this. :-/