East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai



WordPress implemented a new blogging interface a few days ago.
It’s pretty cool, it’s designed to be distraction-free, and basically on my countryside connection it makes posting a blog a one-hour affair instead of the usual fifteen minutes.
Because the interface is beautiful, but it’s heavy on my connection resources.


But this is not the real problem – I already write my posts using a text editor caller ReText (but any plain text editor or notepad works) and then copy-and-paste them in WordPress anyway.
But while I was waiting this morning for the interface to load, I found myself with ample time on my hands and started thinking…distraction-free?

There’s a lot of distraction-free editor programs out there. Some are free, some are premium. Some you download and install, some run directly inside your browser.
I have a good distraction-free editor on my system, it’s free and it’s called FocusWriter. And Scrivener offers a distraction-free mode.
And I don’t use them. Oh, I tried them, really, they are quite cool but… no.
Because, in all honesty, seeing the buttons and cursors and icons on my writing software is not that much of a distraction, really – and I am curious about people actually finding the interface of a writing software distracting.

And OK, I am biased – I once met a guy that wrote using a distraction-free editor, on a laptop, in a crowded Starbucks. Leaving the icons out of the picture seemed to me a little pointless. But to each their own, of course.


And I don’t know, maybe it comes from me learning to type (badly, to the desperation of my typist mother) on a very mechanical, very distracting typewriter: hammers getting stuck, the ribbon detaching, the paper getting chewed by the thing… that’s distracting, and with time one learns to minimise the risks and ignore the rest.
I still like my keyboard to go click-clack and I usually write with music going on and a helluva lot of different software running in the background.

This I thought this morning while my new distraction-free blogging interface loaded.
Does anybody out there really use distraction free editors?

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

6 thoughts on “Distraction-free

  1. Not sure if it counts, but I use VIM with a couple of plugins for Markup. Not sure it can get more distraction-free than that without renouncing to some productivity features.


  2. No GUI, but at least a couple of frames open with annotations, story-bible and research.

    Now that I think about it, it’s not exactly distraction free…


  3. I use WriteMonkey that is as barebones as it gets — just an empty screen and a cursor. I do like hammering on clicky keys — I bought a $250 mechanical keyboard which is a lot of money but also helped me a lot with RSI issues. I guess my neighbors aren’t too equally happy about it… 😉


    • One of the few perks of living in the middle of nowhere is that the neighbors don’t complain – I too use a mechanical keyboard, one of those wave-shaped things that are easier on fingers and wrists.


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