Productive writing with FocusWriter

My own Forest 1 theme.

My own Forest 1 theme.

A couple of years ago, when I was still in the Apple ecosystem, I discovered the excellent writing app Ommwriter. It is a text writing application that is designed to prevent all distractions while you are writing. The soothing background and ambient sounds made me feel very relaxed but also focused. I find it to be of great value as my environment seems to be optimized to send me as many distractions as possible.


When I switched over to Ubuntu, I discovered quickly that Ommwriter is not available for Linux. After searching a bit, I found FocusWriter. This app offers a similar distraction free writing environment. It has a different feature set than Ommwriter, but overall it suits me very well.

FocusWriter has the option to setup a lot of keyboard shortcuts, which I find very useful. Although I tend not to focus too much on layout while writing, I like to add some headings to see the structure of my text more easily. To have a few shortcuts for these kind of tasks is very useful.

Another strong point of FocusWriter is that you can make your own themes. Sometimes a background can become a bit too boring, or the available choices might not suit your mood. It is fairly easy to copy an existing one and change a couple of things. Also, since I have low vision, it is useful for me to tweak my theme to be easier to read.

Something I have not tried, but which might be interesting for people is the use of writing sessions, personal goals and statistics. Since I do not write so often,I have no real need for this. Although this blog might actually become a bit more interesting if I would set some goals.

I miss the ambient sounds from Ommwriter. Obviously I can use my own music in the background, which I do, but the ambient sounds from Ommwriter are meant to be not distracting and help me focus. This is not necessarily the case with my own music.

In case you are interested, FocusWriter is available in the Ubuntu software app. Or via the command line by running:

The two themes I have created can be downloaded here.

A theme based on a Hubble image of the Carina nebula.

A theme based on a Hubble image of the Carina nebula.

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