A perfect tool for the easily distracted writer!

SACO – Here’s a little secret. I’m easily distracted. Maybe that’s a good thing but for me, it tends to make my writing sessions a bit more painful. If I sit too close to the window, I can’t help but be drawn to the world only a few feet away from my desk. If I write in a crowded or noisy space, the writer in me begins to listen to the conversations swirling near me. I think about the way in which the discussion will end or what caused the fight in the first place. So, yes, I am easily distracted.


Hey! I think I see a squirrel on the wood shed.

I thought I would share one of the writing tools I use all the time. Being a child of the 70s and someone who remembers using liquid white out to fix typing mistakes, I sometimes long for the days when you spent a few seconds thinking about the words that would ultimately make it to the page. I am also fond of the rhythmic sound of a typewriter clacking away as the words magically come together to tell a story.

No, I am not going to advocate that you hunt for a used office equipment store in hopes that you will find a working Smith-Corona or IBM Selectric (now, that was a fancy machine). I found an online writing app (WRITER by BigHugeLabs.com) that seems to do the trick.

It works in a browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc.) and you can be somewhat assured that your work will be saved in the cloud. Users may set it up with the font and document layout options that best fit their specific writing style. By default, the software looks like the old, black computer screens that displayed the text in an almost eerie shade of green. For me, I like an almost white background and a font that resembles that used in the paperback novels of my long-lost youth. The other perfect option for me is the ability for the user to turn on typewriter sounds (manual or electric). I set the browser in full-screen mode, plug in my ear buds and somehow, my thoughts transfer themselves to my fingertips.

The steady sound is soothing and seems to inspire me to write even more. I am working on my second novel and unless something drastic happens to change my mind or mood, I will use this tool to write the first draft of every chapter. Once the draft of the chapter is finished, I’ll transfer it to Microsoft Word and then it’s on to the next chapter. I will confess, all of my revisions and final edits are completed in Word, but for me, there is a distinct difference between the first draft and subsequent revisions. As my imaginary friend Stephen King has taught me, I freely accept the notion that my first draft will be total crap. But through revision, through consistent and prolonged work, my initial ideas, scenes, and characters will get better. For that work, I use Microsoft Word. It seems to be better suited for that type of work.

Anyway, I hope you give WRITER a try, and in your head, travel back to a time when the words “carriage return” and “line feed” meant something.

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David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. I am a teacher and writer and my first novel, "Homecoming: A Soldier's Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption" is available now at www.BrysonTaylorPublishing.com