Myriad full-screen writing programs and distraction-free text editors are available online. Each purports to be unique in its presentation despite often promising to deliver the same, basic thing: increased focus on the task at hand.
Beyond the occasional rave review online, though, I haven’t come across much analysis or research about any one of these programs. So, I’m curious about them, their implications, and how they are pitched to users. Both the programs themselves and their descriptive pitches enable and frame the act, purpose, and value of writing in different ways. Some are very process-oriented; others are more expressive. Many exhibit a monochromatic visual style, hearkening back to simpler times.
Certain programs invite certain kinds of writers. For instance, Writer for iPad implies concern about “destroying the voice and the organic structure of our original thought.” Meanwhile, Ommwriter “believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper.” Furthermore, WriteRoom “gets your computer out of the way so that you can focus on your work.” Such programs are pitched and presented more as environments than tools. They are more spaces for us to write from/within and less instruments facilitating the writing process, if it is a process at all.
Many are available for free or at minimal cost. I encourage my fellow THATCampers to download a program or two and give ‘em a trial run prior to (or even during) our time together.
Writer (internet browser-based)