20+ Distraction-Free Minimal Writing Apps to Help You Focus Your Blog Content Creation

If only all of our writing environments were like this…

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

Update – I’ve built my dream desktop publishing app: Desk PM

So you’ve decided that you’re not someone who wants to draft directly in WordPress because of the possibilities of losing data and you’re not interested in blogging in one of these top blogging apps that sync to your blog because of the cost or complexity.

Perhaps you’re one of those writers who need something a little less robust – a little less distracting? You’re in luck! There are a number of desktop apps that do just that and we’ve seen a significant rise of apps that help you simply focus on that which is of utmost importance: Writing.

These apps were designed to help you focus on the complete writing experience as best as they possibly can, removing distracting buttons, going fullscreen to just the drafting area, and even playing music in the background to help stimulate creative energy! I’ve collected apps for Windows, Mac, Web, and more.

Remember, these apps do not necessarily connect directly to your blogging platform (unlike these blogging apps) so you’ll have to, at some point, copy and paste the content into WordPress manually.

0. Desk App

Desk App
Desk App

Desk App is my very own writing and blogging app that I’ve built after years of building software and publishing content.

It’s the combination of my two great loves and it was built for the digital publisher distinctly!

I hope you enjoy it! Clearly it’s winner in my book!

So pretty… so calming… so perfect.

1. Ommwriter

Ommwriter is one of the more well-known Mac (and now iPad and Windows!) apps that has definitely inspired many a copy-cat. With support for multiple backgrounds, different sound effects and music, you might never leave the interface!

Nothing but text.

2. Q10

I liken Q10 as the Ommwriter for Windows since you’re able to do fullscreen, except there are some really neat features in Q10 like spellcheck and timed writing sessions. Definitely a must-have.

[tentblogger-vimeo 24156534]

3. iA Writer

This professional app will cost you a few pennies but it’s well worth the expense if you dive in deep. Above is a sweet video of it in action!

If you want to read my robust review of iA Writer than check this one out here.

4. PenZen

This might be one of the best web apps out there – simply begin to type and you’re good to go! Save via PDF directly if you like (check out the example of my work above in PDF format here).

Yup, it was that easy.

This is much more than just a writing app…

5. Ulysses

Ulysses is much more than just a focused-writing app – it’s a full suite of awesomesauce for all your writing and creative needs. It’ll cost you some green but man, it’s crazy-powerful.

But, it does have a full-screen mode so it’s made the list.

Clean and straight-forward.

6. WriteMonkey

This Windows-only app is another minimalist app which even has CSS markup support if you want. I can’t believe this app is free considering some of the features built right in.

One of my favorites!

7. WriteRoom

WriteRoom might be one of my personal favorites for the Mac since it’s one of the fastest and cleanest app of them all. There’s not much to it and the simplicity of it is astounding. And that’s about it. Perfect.

8. Byword

This Mac app has an auto-saving feature which pretty much puts it near the top of the pile. Clean and sleek.

9. Clean Writer

Clean Writer, another Mac app which starts at $3, is a sweet deal if you’re looking for a stripped down workspace with a few styling and theme options.

10. Writer App

A minimal text editor this app competes directly with Clean Writer above. It’s also priced the same as well.

11. Grandview

This Mac app takes minimal writing to the next level and lets you just see one word at a time! Sure, you can step back if you want with this app but I find this experience fascinating.

12. FocusWriter

This open source multi-platform app might just be the best thing for you since it’s free and does most of what you might need. With optional statistics, auto-save, and more you can’t beat it for the price of zero.

13. Microsoft Word

I thought I might mention this even though it’s not really classified as a minimal writing app – but you can do fullscreen with it if you like. It’s not the same experience though.

14. QuietWrite

This free web app is super impressive as it allows you to have that fullscreen experience with auto-saving. It’s perfect for bloggers since it gives you that title field too! You can save them and come back to them later!

15. Pages App

It’s also worth noting that iWork’s Pages App allows fullscreen too. You could use this if you wanted if you already have the app.

Love me some java!

16. JDarkRoom

JDarkRoom is a multi-platform app that uses Java to run. It’s free to use and might be a first app to try because of the nice cost.

For Windows!

17. Dark Room

This is the Windows-version of WriteRoom and is free to use. Also a great spot to start since the cost is so low.

A word processor with fullscreen mode.

18. Bean App

Bean App is actually a free word processor for the Mac and there’s a nice fullscreen mode that’s comparable. It’s a good Pages and Word replacement and worth a look and mention on this post.

The Ommwriter for Windows

19. CreaWriter

CreaWriter was inspired by Ommwriter and is the Windows-version comparable. It’s free but you can pay for increase features if you’d like. Definitely worth a look.

Writing with Python.

20. PyRoom

Distraction-free writing? Sure, as long as you have Python, GTK bindings for python and XDG bindings.

Hah. Get it here.

21. Writer Web App

Writer is an “internet typewriter” in your browser. Print, download, and count the words. Done.

22. Google Docs

Of course, I have to mention the free (and awesome) Google Docs option with fullscreen that might just be what you need.

23. TextEdit

As I’ve mentioned before I just love OS X’s native TextEdit application. It’s not a “true” minimalist app but it does the trick.

24. TextRoom

This open source platform for all operating systems is pretty darn sweet. Works on Windows, Ubuntu, Fedora and other Linux distributions.

25. Open Office

Of course if we mention Microsoft it wouldn’t be fair if we left out the free alternatives to those robust collection of apps, right? Open Office is the free version of the many Microsoft-branded productivity apps, including one for writing.

It’s like the ‘Office’ without the Microsoft part.

26. NeoOffice

Another free “office-like” alternative this one’s made for the Mac. Get it here!

And that’s it! Is there anyone that I’ve missed? What do you use?

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series. Image via jsmoral.]

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