A good writer never blames their apps for a lack of productivity

18 December 2021

Can distraction-free devices change the way we write, asks Julian Lucas, writing for the New Yorker. A writing app, a word processor, one that cuts out the clutter, menu bars, formatting options, font choices, and all the impedimenta that might distract us: would we be more productive as writers if that were the case?

But focus mode on an everything device is a meditation room in a casino. What good is it to separate writing from editing, formatting, and cluttered interfaces if you can’t separate it from the Internet? Even a disconnected computer offers plenty of opportunities for distraction: old photographs, downloaded music, or, most treacherous of all, one’s own research. And so, just as savvy entrepreneurs have resuscitated the “dumb” phone as a premium single-tasking communication device, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would revive the stand-alone word processor.