Thursday, 17 July 2014

Focus on your writing

I'm currently reading Focus: A Simplicity Manifesto In The Age Of Distraction by Leo Babuta. There are lots of tips for cutting distractions from your life: later I will be tidying the window ledge next to my PC so that it is not full of pots, paperclips, pads and pens.

One of the sections that interested me was about plain text, full-screen word processors. They strip things back to basics to give you a blank screen to focus on, without buttons, popups or a visible Windows taskbar; even formatting options such as italics and bold are gone. Just bang out the words. Removing bloat can increase the power. For a writer these tools make a viable alternative to using Microsoft Word, especially when you are starting from fresh on a new project. Below I have included screenshots and links to the three I plan to spend more time with.




All are free; none need installing, and they seem to be portable via a USB memory stick.



If you use Microsoft Word there are ways of approximating the simplicity. For example, you can press the following keys, one after another, in order to get a full-screen view: Alt V U. Press escape when you want to quit full-screen mode. It is not true full screen though, since it leaves the Windows task bar visible. I also recommend going into print layout first if you have a widescreen monitor (so that you don't wear your eyes out scanning all the way across the width of the screen - full screen print layout keeps the text near the centre). If you have a squarer, 4:3 monitor, then web layout might be fine.
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