WriteRoom and DarkRoom

Thanks to a thread of Maud Newton's I have discovered what may be the Holy Grail of writing these days: A way to do it without checking email every five minutes and losing half an hour on Facebook.

For Windows users there's DarkRoom, (and WriteMonkey -- thanks to commenter Josips, I now prefer WriteMonkey) and for Mac-heads there's WriteRoom. The downloads are free, or at least DarkRoom was.

They do nothing but clear your screen of everything except your text -- they turn your computer into basically a typewriter. I'm pretty sure I've at least doubled the amount of time I write at a stretch using DarkRoom. For example, an hour and a half just went by as I wrote my novel, and it never even occurred to me to dick around online, because I could see nothing onscreen but my novel, which kept drawing me in, in, in.


Trevor Jackson said...

There's also Freedom, which seems to only work on Macs for now. This program disables your network access for a time limit that you specify.

Which, it occurs to me now, could still allow you to play lots of Minesweeper, so I think your program's probably better, G.

Grendel said...

Yeah, I want Freedom next!

I have never played Minesweeper.

josips said...

Try also writemonkey for win. Better by far ...

Ian said...

Brooke found this Firefox add-on that,while not as comprehensive as Freedom, does allow you to blocks groups of individual Web sites for set periods of time.


And thanks for the DarkRoom tip, Grendel.

Grendel said...

WriteMonkey looks good, too. I note that it even allows coding for italics, which DarkRoom doesn't. Yes, when I eventually bring it back into Word, I'm going to have to go through and format italics, if I want them. We are talking about pure text files. It really does make your computer into a typewriter -- one in which you can control all colors and display fonts, that is. I figure I'll want to print and proof anyway, before showing it to anyone.

I'm liking the discipline text-only forces. Rereading old chapters I run across places where I had leaned on italics, but now there is only raw text. And you know what -- I didn't really need those italics. Often their lack actually points out a weakness in the writing.

Text-only writing in full-screen mode: nothing like it to foreground your text, your whole text, and nothing but your text.

Jane said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this. I downloaded WriteRoom for work and it has already totally increased my productivity. Planning to get DarkRoom for my PC at home.

I've gotten worse and worse with my compulsion to check email / facebook / etc. while writing, and this is a fabulous solution.

Also, it makes me feel like I'm back in middle school. I keep waiting for text from "Zork" to pop up.