FocusWriter is a beautifully simple, cross-platform, freeware writer’s solution to the busy backgrounds, multitude of icons, and flurry of widgets that tend to eat up our computer screens these days.
I’ve been trying for a while to really get going on a book, and I have to admit that I am easily distracted by many of those things I mentioned above. I love my computers like children. I love to add things to enhance their usability and beauty, and when it’s time to sit down and focus on a task such as writing, it is kind of like having a 4 year old in the room with you when the growl notifications of completed downloads come up, or new email shows up, or someone pops into skype, ichat, msn messenger, twitter, tweets, facebook, and on, and on, and on….
The distractions abound and I needed a way to really get those things away from my head and start focusing. I started searching for something to use on my Linux box, since I use a Linux based laptop quite a bit with my computer / network repair business. I thought that would be the way to go.
Then I started thinking I might want something that I could use on any of my boxes, and began searching for some Online alternatives. Web-based apps are great! I love WordPress – it makes keeping you up to date easy for me, convenient for only needing an internet enabled device with a web browser basically, and I’m up and running.
I checked out Google Docs which I use for a lot of things, but still found it didn’t fill my screen enough and make everything else disappear.
I then recalled some programs that would hide everything else in the background and let you focus on the window you were dealing with at the moment, and started searching for that. Well, my keywords were ‘focus’, ‘writing’, ‘freeware’, ‘linux’, ‘mac’ and a few pages in I found a reference to FocusWriter.
I went to the page, and was really pleased with what I found.
The application actually opens up full screen. No bars on top, bottom, sides, or anywhere else. It’s just a screen with a cursor.
You have to move your mouse to the top or bottom of the screen and the toolbars will appear.
You can have multiple tabs open at once, and you can setup custom tools on the top bar through the settings / preferences. The best feature for me is the ability to set the writing background color to a nice darker color, and the text to a gentle yellow color. This makes it much easier on my eyes.
You can adjust font size, and in the Mac version even set it to be RTF if you so desire. I personally like the .txt format as I can easily move my work into Latex for formatting when I’m done.
FocusWriter gets a full 5 stars from me on it’s simple interface, and distraction free zone.
A little note for those who have the volume up on their systems at all times, mute it if you really want to get things done.
I hope you’ll give FocusWriter a shot, and best to you all.