Getting into 'flow' in Windows?
May 23, 2006 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Flow-creating, full-screen, web-killin' creative tools for Windows?

After reading this post about a conceptual app called Blockwriter for Macs, I got to thinking. I work in IT consulting, and so spend most of my working days immersed in Powerpoint, which, for better or worse, tends to get used for everything. However, in the evenings, like thousands of others, I do my creative thang by knocking out short stories, blog posts and even a novel. At home, I have a dedicated writing machine, which is a non-networked iMac, running on Linux. No internet, plus the fullscreen setting on OpenOffice means that I can happily type away for hours without getting distracted.
Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time away from home in various hotels. I write on the evenings on my work computer, which unfortunately is web-enabled to the Nth degree, plus has a bunch of other things on it to distract me, not least work stuff which sits there in the background, taunting me. I find it really hard to get into the same 'flow' state as I can at home, and the Blockwriter suggestions above got me thinking - is there something similar for Windows? I currently use a combination of Google Sidebar's Scratch Pad, and Editpad Lite, but they're not covering all the bases here.

Anyone have any ideas? Of course, free would be good, but for something like Ulysses, I might consider creaking open the wallet.
posted by Happy Dave to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't a suggestion for a program, though I am interested in what other have to suggest.

Have you considered creating an alternate log-in on your work computer? You could set it up so that it launches with none of the bells and whistles of your primary account (no programs at start-up, wifi disabled by default, no access to all of the really tempting software in the business account, etc.). It seems that logging-in to this austere personal account when you want to be creative would go a long way to reducing distractions. Having to log-off and log back on might be just enough of a annoyance to keep you going.
posted by oddman at 6:45 AM on May 23, 2006

I don't have any ideas, but I do have python gui programming skills, and am seriously thinking of making this app for fun. If this thread gets some interest going, I might go for it.
posted by Mach5 at 6:57 AM on May 23, 2006

Response by poster: Oddman, great suggestion, I'm doing it right now. Mach5, have a look at the Mac thread for initial ideas, I'm sure others will weigh in with their thoughts.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:01 AM on May 23, 2006

Occasionally I use "Temptation Blocker". It allows you to specify which applications you wish to be locked out from and for how long. You can over-ride the blockage only by rebooting or manually transcribing a long text code.
posted by rongorongo at 7:36 AM on May 23, 2006

I would have never thought of that, oddman.. It's so simple.

Myself, I prefer writing on typewriters. I have a 1919 typewriter with those hammers that hit the paper and make that wonderful but never-really-heard-in-real-life noise (Although they do get stuck 24/7, because I type so fricken fast). I'm looking for a working electric typewriter, somewhat on the small side with the bare minimum (no screen or anything), so if any of you have one in your garage or something :)
posted by lain at 7:47 AM on May 23, 2006

Wow, that 'blockwriter' app sounds fabulous. Mach5, if you can create that kind of miracle, and make it XP-compatible, I will pay you.

But I am a writer, so I can't pay you much.
posted by scarylarry at 8:09 AM on May 23, 2006

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