😌 Distraction-free writing tools



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😌 Distraction-free writing tools
By Dan Mason • Issue #11 • View online
✍️ Today: Writing tools that help keep you in the creative zone.
👋 New here? Welcome to Useful Stuff for Storytellers, for creatives who like practical tips and free tools. Subscribe here.

For the past few years, most of my words - stories, reports, training proposals, course plans - have been written with Google Docs. 
I used to use Apple Pages more. I love it, but it’s a chore to convert files to Word or PDF when sharing and I’m not a fan of files floating about on emails, taking up space and lacking version history.
With Docs, it is just so convenient to write within my organisation hub of Google Drive, online or offline, sharing files as links with comments and version history built in.
Docs has a pretty minimalist interface as does Pages. But you still couldn’t call them distraction free.
It’s true what they say. Having nothing but you and your words united in zen-like harmony focuses the creative mind. I know professional writers who swear by Scrivener ($49, Mac and PC). iA Writer is a favourite too ($29, Mac and Pc).
But let’s look at a few fast and free alternatives …
Calmly Writer: How calm can writing get?
Calmly Writer: How calm can writing get?
Calmly Writer
Head over to Calmly to experience distraction free writing. All you see is the faint water lily (I guess) logo, and your words. It’s free to use online, with the desktop version only $9.99 (Mac and PC).
Distraction Free Mode for Google Docs
The Distraction Free Mode Chrome extension adds a small grey square in your doc header that hides the toolbars and leaves your text on a neutral background of your choice. Like Calmly, tap the icon to access settings and exit distraction-free mode.
It works a treat and still leaves other useful tools within easy reach, such as Power Thesaurus, Grammarly and Toby.
Typora is a gem for Mac and PC that also supports markdown. It does what it says on the tin: Simple yet powerful. And it’s free.
Notion: Keeping it all under one roof
Notion: Keeping it all under one roof
A strange one for the list, but stay with me. When I started Useful Stuff for Storytellers, I decided to use Notion as my newsletter HQ.
I have a database page where I add ideas. To these I add links, images and notes as they move up the ladder from ‘Idea’ to ‘In Progress’ to ‘Published’. There’s also a calendar view of published newsletters.
The individual pages are also where I write the newsletter before transferring it to Revue.
Although Notion isn’t trying to be a distraction-free writer, the experience is good, and it keeps everything under one roof. Notion is free for personal use, including the desktop version. That means I can write my newsletter offline.
Which is handy, since I’m writing this sitting in a room in Lagos without electricity (it happens a lot here) and the rain falling in torrents outside. Now … where’s my hotspot.
Thanks for reading 👏
🌍 I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing creatives and causes around the world as a trainer and educator.  I get lots of ‘how do I …’ questions, so I started this newsletter to share the answers.
If you enjoy it, please share it! And if you have a question, suggestion or useful stuff you’d like to share, get in touch: dan@danmason.co.uk 🔗 bio.link/masondan
⭐️ Main image adapted from: Bessi/Pixabay
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Dan Mason

Practical tips and fast, free tools for journalists, content creators and communicators in a hurry

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