Tools of the Trade: FocusWriter & Forest

As a chronic social media junkie that basically lives off her phone, sometimes it’s really difficult to remain focused on writing for the entire duration. When I get distracted, it’s obvious in my writing. Paragraphs are completely disjointed from one another and even sentences seem to lose their focus halfway through. So I found two incredibly useful applications to help me keep my focus.

focuswriterThe first and most commonly used application of mine is FocusWriter. It’s one of those things I install immediately when I get on a new computer. Sure, most word processors can block out the screen if you put them into full screen mode, but FocusWriter is something you can personalize to each project.

For example, when I’m working on Europa, I put the working cover of the novel as the background and set my font and writing window to match the sci-fi feel of what I’m working on. When I shift gears into a new genre, like when I wrote A Lily in the Library, I can change the background to fit the more somber mood. My surroundings help me really focus my muse on what I’m doing.

The other is an app I’ve put on both phones I’ve had since I began seriously writing again, so I know it’s on both the Google Play Store and the App Store. It’s called Forest. The premise of it is to force you forestnot to check every single notification that dings its way onto your screen. If you leave the app (unless you’re visiting an app you’ve whitelisted, which is a new feature since I started using it), the tree you’ve been growing withers away.

If you manage to keep the app open until the time is up, a nice little tree is added to your forest, and it marks progress you’ve made in your day. Coupling this with the do not disturb feature of my phone, I can get a lot of work done and have a little reward for myself. My forest will be pretty some day 🙂

So, if you have problems staying disconnected from the world long enough to let your voice be heard, you should consider giving these applications a try!


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