7 Distraction-Free Writing Tools
When I first wrote about my AlphaSmart years ago, I got a lot of confused comments as to why I would want a device with a one-color screen and no internet. “Why not just focus” was the general response Since then, there’s been a slow but sure growth in interest in distraction-free writing devices.
In fact, the New Yorker even recently wrote about them. Distraction-free writing tools tend to not have internet, nor notifications. Plus, we spend a ton of time on electronic devices. Many people report eyestrain from looking at screens, but I personally have noticed I’m sensitive to EMFs, and I fatigue quickly on even a low-EMF computing setup.
Plus, as I wrote about in my book, Mind Management, Not Time Management, different stages of the creative process call for different tools. I think of them as either “grippy” or “slippy” tools.
Here are some distraction-free writing tools and devices, besides apps, and the obvious pen-and-paper or small whiteboard.
- Typewriter: I love to write on a typewriter. It’s a way better experience than you would expect. Read about why I write on a typewriter »
- AlphaSmart: It’s a portable word processor with a simple screen that holds a few lines of text. Transfer to a computer requires a USB cable, but it’s great for brainstorming. Read about my AlphaSmart »
- Freewrite: A series of e-ink screen-and-keyboard devices that sync to the cloud. Many writers balk at the price tags, ranging from just under $500, to $800. But if you earn your bread writing, it could easily be worth it. (Haven’t tried one.)
- Pomera: A foldable e-ink pocket device. By a Japanese company, so it seems some users struggle with it not being particularly friendly to writing English, though I’ve seen some reports it’s getting better. (Haven’t tried one.)
Here’s a few ways, if you’re technically adept, you can hack existing devices to be more distraction-free:
- SolarWriter: An iPhone and Android app to connect a keyboard to your Kindle (and simultaneously, your smartphone, which makes it a bit less distraction-free). Ostensibly, this is for writing outside.
- Kobowriter: Code to make your Kobo e-reader accept a keyboard.
- Distraction-Free Writing with a ReMarkable Keyboard A blog post showing how to connect a keyboard to a ReMarkable e-ink tablet.