Update: You should check out Desk App, a desktop publishing client for writers & bloggers! Clearly Desk is now my favorite app but I have to give a lot of kudos to iAWriter for their inspiration via their great product!
After having shared a near-exhaustive list of desktop-based blogging and writing apps that help you stay focused I’ve been asked multiple times which one is my favorite and it’s been honestly tough since I like many of the apps that a number of these businesses have created.
But there’s a clear winner in my book not only for the sheer simplicity of the application but also the small feature set that has been optimized for my particular writing needs (unfortunately it doesn’t publish blog posts like Desk App).
You see, my requirements are pretty simple:
- It needs to be a super fast app.
- It needs to be pure elegance in simplicity.
- It needs to limit my choices of features. In other words, it has to forcibly remove my options.
- It needs to be able to Save and Export in the types of files that I need.
After having tested out nearly all off the focused writing apps listed here I landed on one after having found myself going back to it again and again as my top option – and clearly it was being used and I was publishing content from it:
iA Writer for the Mac
iA Writer for the Mac [Mac App Store] has not only been a tool I used daily for nearly all of my writing needs but it has also become one of my most favorite applications on sitting on my dock (among many other greats).
When you open the application you are presented with nothing more than a blank canvas. In fact, they have purposely taken away any and all preferences associated with the application – you can’t do anything but write.
And I love that it just jumps right to it.
Start typing away! You do have two options though in terms of your writing experience and they are Focused mode and Full Screen mode. You can combine the two if you’d like as well.
Focused mode allows you simple write one sentence at a time and it fades the other sentences around your current sentence so that you can truly focus on exactly what you’re writing about. See the screen below:
Of course, you can’t go wrong with Full Screen either. I do Full Screen in Focus mode and it’s as simple as tapping a few keyboard shortcuts to get you there – ⌘+ENTER gets you to Full Screen and Focus Mode is simply ⌘+D.
A Few More Worthwhile Features to Mention
Sure the app is fast, slick, and super-trim but it has a few more things that I love:
- Auto Markdown – The ability to format text that’s readable and understandable without using your mouse. In other words, your hands never leave the keyboard which is a serious time-saver.
- Autosave – Can I get an “amen!”?
- Export to HTML – This makes it super easy to export to HTML and then use that as a drop-off point for your WordPress blog. Of course, don’t forget the importance of copying and pasting correctly!
And finally it’s just the small things that I can appreciate like the easy-to-read blue cursor, showing the word count, character count, and also the general reading time required for the writing piece all make up a solid and what I consider “robust” focused writing app:
As a result it is the best focused writing app for the Mac and has been worth every single penny.
So what about you? What’s your favorite writing app for focus and productivity?