When writing, there are times when you need to escape distractions. Distractions like notifications, social media, games, and more. Things you need to push off to the side or make invisible while you try to write.
While I still use a distraction-free editor on my desktop, I’m now more and more moving away from editors on the desktop to ones in my web browser. And not just on the web itself, either.
Chrome and, by extension, Chromium (or even a Chromebook) are two web browsers that enable you to write without distractions within a browser tab or window. There are a number of great apps for Chrome that not only let you write, but write without distractions. I’ve looked at some of them in this space before, but they’re worth repeating.
Let’s look at four distraction-free writing applications for Chrome.
Like any good distraction-free writing tool, WordFlow is simple. It’s spartan. But it lets you concentrate on your words. In fact, besides what you’re writing the only other thing you see is a running word count in the bottom-right corner of the window.
You can learn more about WordFlow here.
Another solid distraction-free editor for Chrome is Writebox. Like WordFlow, and the other apps that I discuss in this post, Writebox is simple. You just get your text, a count of words and characters and lines in your document, and a toolbar that hides itself
What I like about Writebox is that it works very nicely with Dropbox (an online file storage and synchronization service). So, if you’re working on a computer other than your primary one you don’t have to worry about shuffling files around or email them to yourself. Just save them to Dropbox and they’re available on the other computer, too.
On top of that, you can work offline and then upload your work to Dropbox the next time you’re connected to the internet. Just click the Sync button and away you go.
wabisabi has no real frills. To start using it, you press F11 on your keyboard to put your browser into full-screen mode. Then, you start typing. Like Writebox and Wordflow, it gives you a running word count.
When you’re done, press F11. From there, you can download your document by clicking the download button on the main page.
There’s also an email button, but I’ve never been able to get that to work.
I tend to think of Pillarbox as an offline version of Writebox. It’s not a clone or anything like that. It’s just a very simple, very plain (white text on a gray background, but you can change that), and does its job nicely.
Pillarbox acts like a typewriter and treats your screen as a sheet of paper. It continuously scrolls as you type. But unlike a typewriter, it displays a word count in the bottom-left corner of the browser window.
Pillarbox packs two useful features:
- A timer, which lets you write for the number of minutes that you specify
- The ability to set a goal of a specific number of words that you want to write
Both come in very handy when you’re staring down the barrel of a deadline.
I know that in some circles, distraction-free writing applications are a bit contentious. And that can be an understatement. But for those of us who use them, they’re useful and valuable.
Photo credit: GinnyLynni