2 Tools to Help You Focus on Writing

February 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

At heart, I’m a full out geek. I like technology…sometimes too much. I need to warn you from the beginning, that this post is a bit “techy”. If that’s not you, feel free to swiftly close this window and get back to your day. :)

Recently, I posted some thoughts on the importance of writing.  Whether you consider yourself a “writer” or not is irrelevant.  Nearly every expression of creativity starts with getting our thoughts out of our brain and on to paper. Or as Dawson Trotman says, “letting your thoughts pass through your lips and fingertips”.  We all have things in our gut that we need to let out. And when we do it’s important we have the right tools on hand.

Photo from the Library of Congress.

Photo from the Library of Congress.

When writing, I’ve found there are times when the mojo is just there.  I sit down and can’t write fast enough to capture everything my heart is singing about.

But more often are the times where I’ll stare desperately at the blinking cursor not remembering how it is that sentences are formed.  These are the times that can lead to frustration and the occasional questioning of the purpose of life. In these moments, the last thing I want to do is write, so I’ll distract myself with ANYTHING I can possibly justify.  My eyes will constantly wander to new email notifications and social media icons. Even with other applications closed, I waste time changing fonts, sizes, and margins of the document I am working in.

Sound crazy?  I’m hoping you know what I’m talking about.

This why it’s important to have good tools that help you focus.  Until recently, I had been using Microsoft Word to do all of my writing but I’ve found it to be a bit cumbersome. With all of the formatting palettes and toolbars, there’s simply too much to look at.

With that said, I want to take a moment to highlight a couple apps I use and I think you will like. Both of these word processors are minimalistic, classy, and great for focusing on the task at hand.

ByWord

ByWord is what I use to write almost everything nowadays. It is simple. Purely text on a full white screen. No toolbars. No fancy formatting options. No distractions. It really does help you focus on what matters most – writing.

ByWord1.png 1,506×966 pixels
ByWord2.png 712×448 pixels

When I am done writing something in ByWord, I will then paste it into Word for further formatting, if needed. Or, I will copy the HTML code and use it to publish in WordPress for blogging. It also has several other great features…

  • Cloud Syncing – You can download the app for your iPhone or iPad and finish writing your document there.
  • Markdown Language – If you’re a blogger or web designer, this is a great feature. Markdown is a web formatting language that is lightweight, efficient, and allows you to keep your code simple.

You can download ByWord for $9.99 in the App store.

OmmWriter

OmmWriter is a hipster’s word processing dream. If you just want to “feel” creative while you write, this app is for you. When you first open OmmWriter, it instructs you to put on headphones so you can enjoy the ambient musical experience. You can choose from 8 different minimalistic backgrounds, several different soundtracks, and even change the sound of your keystrokes.

‎lukehumbrecht.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/OmmWriter1.png
‎lukehumbrecht.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Ommwriter2.png

It takes a few minutes to get used to OmmWriter. It kind of draws you into the features (which I understand is the antithesis of focus). Though I mosly use ByWord, this one definitely wins the experience award. It’s fun to show friends!

OmmWriter is available for Mac, PC, & iPad.  You can download a free version with only a few features or you can pay $4.99 for the full version.

Were either of these 2 resources helpful to you? Do you know of any other great tools or apps that have helped you?

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