9 Best Distraction Free Writing Apps Ranked & Reviewed [2023]

Chioma Ezeh is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more

Chioma Ezeh is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more

If you’re a writer that struggles to focus while working, then these distraction free writing apps are what you need.

In today’s digital world, being a writer is much easier, especially with all the digital tools you can find online. However, the downside is that one becomes easily distracted. With different tabs open and multiple programs running simultaneously, one grows overwhelmed quickly. 

But don’t worry, that’s why there are certain apps that give you a distraction free writing experience so that you can focus and be more productive. In this post, we’ll explore the best writing apps to work with no distractions.

Let’s Talk

Are you a writer aspiring to pen a masterpiece that never fails to captivate? Look no further. Reach out to us and uncover how we can help you to take your writing to unprecedented heights!

What Is The Best Distraction Free Writing App?

The best distraction free writing apps depend on the type of writing project you want to carry out, the device in which you want to use it, and other special needs such as if you intend to use it for personal or collaborative purposes. For fiction book writing and other forms of creative or narrative writing, we like Scrivener. For non-fiction writing, we like FocusWriter. However, there are plenty of other solid options that fall in between.

These apps provide a minimalistic interface with no distractions. They also come with customizable options to help you focus on your writing without any interruptions or visual clutter.

Before we delve into each of these tools, let’s get some background knowledge of distraction free writing apps – what it means and how it has evolved.

Why Do You Need A Distraction free App?

If you’re still not convinced that distraction free writing apps are for you, here are a couple of benefits they provide.

  • They have time-blocking tools: This means they help you take full of your time by blocking out distractions. This means you’ll be more productive, and you’ll stay on track.
  • They offer timer techniques: Some of these apps offer variations of the Pomodoro technique, which helps you manage your time by doing intervals of work with short breaks in between.
  • They keep you motivated: Productivity is a great way to stay motivated. The more you progress, the more motivated you will feel.
  • Gamification: Some apps use game-like elements to keep the experience fun and engaging. This will increase your productivity and make it even more rewarding.
  • Immersion experience: The best part about these apps is that they keep you fully immersed in your writing. With no distractions and fully focused, you’ll see how much you progress in little time.

The Best Distraction Free Writing Apps – Overview

Now that you know all about distraction free writing programs and why they’re perfect for you, it is time to see the list of the 9 best distraction free apps for 2023. 

We’ve ranked and separated these apps by categories:

  • Best Overall:
  • Best Free App:
  • Best Paid App:
  • Best for Focus:
  • Best for Goal Setting:
  • Best for Book Writing:
  • Best for Browser:
  • Best for Mac:
  • Best for Android:

These categories will help you find the one that best fits your needs. 

How I Evaluated Each Tool

After testing more than 15 Distraction free writing apps, and comparing data (mostly for minimalistic look and focus), I think Typora is our top pick in the market today regardless of price. Those looking for a free or budget option can check FocusWriter, while also the best value overall is Scrivener. Many variables are at play for the best distraction free writing apps and we intend to cover them in this guide.

I evaluated each tool with the same goal in mind: which one provides the best interruption-free writing experience? Each app has its own unique features, and they give different insights that may work better for different writers. While keeping the writing functionality in mind, I also evaluated prices, usability, and the devices/system they can be downloaded on.

Here is the text sample used for the evaluation on each of the apps:

“This is a sample text generated for demonstration purposes. Here you can see how the text looks on the platform and what the writing experience looks like. You’ll also see the different features this platform has to offer and how to use them.”

Distraction free writing apps are perfect for writers who want to write in a distraction free environment. We hope you find this roundup review useful.

Are you ready? Here are the best distraction free writing apps.

#1. Best Overall – Typora

Homepage hero section of typora software website, one of the best  Distraction Free Writing Apps

Typora is a great distraction free software that provides a seamless experience for readers and writers. Technically, it is a markdown editor that works as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) word processor. You can also import images, create diagrams, use tables, and even do mathematics. 

It is a free app, available on Windows, Max, and Linux. Once you start typing, it removes the preview window, the mode switcher, the syntax symbols, and source codes, so you’re left with just the text and a blank page. It can’t get more distraction free than that.

Key Features

Highlighting of key features of Typora software like "Project outline", "Body text" and "Editing tools"
  • Distraction free interface
  • Markdown writing and editingOrganize Files
  • Outline Panel
  • Word Count
  • Charts and tables
  • Code Fences
  • Mathematics
  • Import and Export
  • Focus Mode and Typewriter Mode
  • Custom Themes

My experience Using This Tool 

Result output for sample text of typora software

Typora is a great tool that has all the tools you could find on Google Docs, and more. It is specifically made as minimalistic as possible, which does wonders for avoiding distractions, believe it or not. 

I love using Typora for big projects of all kinds. The interface allows you to see the outline of your document, add images and charts, and even see the HTML code. It’s perfect for coding, doing homework, work presentations, and even writing a novel!

While it doesn’t have timers or website blockers, it doesn’t need them in order to boost productivity and avoid distractions. Typora has everything you could ever need, and that’s why I rank it as the best overall app.

User reviews

Pricing: 15-day free trial and a $14.99 one-time payment.

Pros And Cons of Typora

Flexible editorNo website blockers
Great for codingNo timers
Sync multiple devicesNo monthly payment option

This is the best markdown editor in the market. It’s easy to use and offers great features. 

#2. FocusWriter: Best Free App

Homepage hero section of FocusWriter software website

FocusWriter is a simple program that gives you a very minimalistic writing environment. The design mimics a sheet of paper, and it uses a hide-away interface so that you can be fully immersed in your writing. It is available on Linux and Windows.

It offers tools such as daily goals, timers, alarms, typewriter effects, and it is also translated into more than 20 languages. 

Key Features

User interace of FocusWriter tool highlighting "themes" and "preferences" features
  • Default and fully custom themes
  • TXT, basic RTF, and basic ODT file support
  • Multi-document support
  • Preferences bar with useful tools
    • Daily Goals
    • Timers and Alarms
    • Typewriter Sounds
    • Spellchecking
    • Statistics

My experience Using FocusWriter

Result output for sample text of FocusWriter software

I first used FocusWriter years ago because I was looking for a free and simple-to-use writing tool. It worked really well to eliminate any distractions and work in a peaceful environment. While it doesn’t look like much, FocusWriter has a user-friendly interface with all the basics you need to work without interruptions. 

I liked using the wooden background, instead of the other flashier ones. I felt like it worked best to keep me focused on the task at hand. I didn’t always use the typewriter sound, I was glad to find out that was optional. The tools it offered, like timers and daily goals, were also fun. They kept me motivated and on-task. They’re rather simple, there’s no big science behind these tools, but they got the job done. 

Additionally, I found that this app worked best for shorter projects. I wouldn’t try to write a novel here, but for short stories or articles, I felt like it worked perfectly. 

Sadly, FocusWriter does not work on Mac, so when I changed my computer I was unable to keep using it. 

User reviews

As this review says, it is an excellent piece of software. There’s not much you need with it in order to do what you need to do.

Pricing: Free

Pros And Cons of FocusWriter

It’s freeFew export options
Simple interfacelimited typesetting
Fully customizableNot great on mobile

That is all there is to say about FocusWriter. It is a simple, but effective, software that will help you get your work done.

#3. Best Paid App – Scrivener

Homepage hero section of Scrivener software website

Scrivener advertises itself as the go-to app for long-form projects. And indeed, Scrivener is the best premium app for all types of written projects. 

A lot of self-publishing authors utilize Scrivener to keep their projects organized. This app lets you choose between different templates (novels, screenplays, nonfiction, etc.) or choose a blank page to start your project. It includes additional functions like virtual notecards, track research, and more. 

Key Features

Integrated feature dashboard of Scrivener highlighting project templates like "Blank", "Fiction", "Non-Fiction" etc.
  • Project templates
    • Screenwriting
    • Novels
    • Blank pages
  • Familiar text editing
  • Font styles
  • Import and export
  • Virtual corkboard
  • Outliner
  • Full-screen writing
  • Progress tracking
  • Auto-save and backups

My experience Using Scrivener

Highlighted segments like "Document body", "Outline and Resources" & "Tool Bar" and sample text generated

Scrivener is a wonderful app. I first started using it when I was writing my novel. I used to keep all my notes and research in a physical notebook, but Scrivener made everything so much easier and more organized. 

I was able to plot, write, edit, and export my whole novel without a problem. Scrivener has so many features, that even I haven’t used all of them. 

This app is perfect for anyone looking to work on a long-form project, loves organization tools and attention to detail, and wants everything safe in one place. 

User review

This testimonial really showcases everything that is great about Scrivener. It’s a great app that helps you create and explore. 

Pricing: 30-day free trial, $59.99 for a standard license for macOS or Windows, and $23.99 for iOS

Pros And Cons of Scrivener

Free trial optionThe software can be confusing and overwhelming
Big variety of featuresIt sometimes glitches during cloud backup
Perfect for long-form projectsmanually enable spelling and grammar checks

If you’re a writer looking for the perfect tool, Scrivener will change your life. I recommend this a hundred percent for any long-form projects. 

#4. Best for Focus – Forest

Homepage hero section of Forest app website

Forest is a focus-driven app that uses the Pomodoro technique. What makes this app stand out from the rest is their main function of planting a virtual tree. 

Each time you start a timer, it can be 25 minutes or any customizable time, a tree grows. During that time, you must stay away from your phone or the tree dies. They also have a Chrome extension available that blocks your access to websites while your tree grows.

Key Features

Highlighting of plant feature of forest app
Highlighting of blocklist mode of forest app
  • Blocklist and Allowlist modes
  • Time management
  • Different trees to choose from
  • User-friendly interface
  • Mobile App and Chrome extension
  • Self-motivated method
  • One-time payment

My experience Using Forest

Blocklist mode of Forest app on display with a thought on it

I mostly use Forest on the Google extension. I think it is the perfect tool for time-tracking and blocking out specific websites so that I can focus on what I’m currently doing.

I was first attracted to the app because it looks like a cute game. The free version only gives you one tree option, but after a one-time payment, you get full access to all the features. I enjoy choosing the types of trees I’m going to plant, depending on the project I’m working on. Looking at my entire forest feels very rewarding.

My favorite part is that it is genuinely doing something for climate change. With the paid version of the app, each virtual tree you plant means there is a real tree planted. You’re helping the environment just by using the app.

Forest App is simple in its functions but very effective.

Pricing: Free with limited options, and a $1.99 one-time payment

Pros And Cons Of Forest

One-time paymentLimited additional features
sync data across devicesUnable to export data
User-friendlyMay be overly simplistic

If you’re looking for a simple and easy-to-use productivity app, Forest is for you. Even though its functions aren’t too revolutionary, it is a cute focus-driven app that will help you write with no distractions.

#5. Best for Goal Setting – Serene

Homepage hero section of Serene software website

Serene is a productivity app that has three main features: Planning, Blocking, and Focus. This app offers focus, time management, and goal achievement in one place. You can set goals, create task lists, block out websites and apps, listen to relaxing music, and improve your productivity. 

Key Features

Integrated dashboard of Serene app showing features like "Analyse", "Block", "Plan" & "Task board"
  • Set goals
    • To-Do Lists
    • Daily Planner
  • Block apps and websites
  • Timers
  • Task tracker
  • Analytics
  • Focus music

My experience Using Serene

A user shared the session timings after using Serene app

Serene is a new discovery for me, but I already love it. I used it for the first time last year, and I was very pleased with everything it has to offer. Staying on track is easy when I can set my own goals and visualize them easily. Serene is user-friendly, so you won’t struggle to understand where each function is or how to use them. 

The app is very flexible. It offers relaxing music, which you can turn on and off whenever. It also allows you to pause the timer, restart, and even finish earlier. It works perfectly for working on different projects throughout the day. 

User reviews:

As the review says, this app is very straightforward and easy to use. 

Pricing: $4/month billed annually

Pros And Cons of Serene

Simple interfaceOnly available on macOS
Blocks notificationsNot very innovative
Works on desktop

Overall, Serene is a great app to stay on track with all of your goals and stay focused as you write.

#6. Best for Book Writing – Plotrr

Homepage hero section of Plotrr software website

Plotrr is the ultimate book-planning and outlining app. This downloadable software allows you to organize your ideas, plan and outline the plot of your story, and edit it with easy-to-use tools. This is the perfect writing app for novelists and book writers looking for a versatile app to complete their projects. 

Key Features

Feature dashboard of Plotrr tool showing various action tabs to choose from
  • Visual timelines
    • Plot lines
    • Scene stacks
    • Views & Filters
  • Story bibles
  • Places
  • Characters
  • World-building
  • Starter templates
  • Series planning
  • Software integrations

My experience Using Plotrr

Structured wise strategy output of ideas from plotrr app

I used Plotrr when I was working on my novel. I have always struggled to put the key elements of my story into words. Plotrr helped organize my ideas and follow a structure that made sense for my novel.

It made everything so easy. I explored the different themes until I found one that worked best for my needs. The best part of this software is that it also lets you keep all the information about your characters and world-building in one place, so whenever you’re writing it is easier to check that information.

The full-screen function helped me stay focused and avoid any distractions while I created an outline and started writing my book. I absolutely recommend this app.

User reviews

I agree with what the review says, Plotrr is a flexible app that will help you structure your story rapidly.

Pricing: 30-day free trial, $99 for one device, $149 for three devices, and $249 for Pro version

Pros And Cons of Plotrr

Free trial of 30 daysCheaper alternative options
Specialized functionalityExtra costs for multiple licenses
Multiple templatesLimited functionality
Works on different devices

Plotrr is the ultimate writing software for anyone that struggles to create a straightforward plotline. Its simple interface will help you avoid distractions while you get to work on your book.

#7. Best for Browser – Lofi.co

Homepage hero section of lofi app website

Lofi.co is very different from other writing apps. They describe themselves as “​​A calm, digital environment to study, work, or relax.” 

Their browser app is the perfect place for anyone looking for a relaxing atmosphere while they work. Their main feature is the Lo-Fi music player and different scenarios to set as backgrounds. Their writing interface isn’t the main feature, in fact, it only has a notes tool. However, this app is perfect to have in the background while you write, work, or study. 

Key Features

Dashboard of Lofi tool showing multiple features to choose from
  • Music player
  • Sound mixer
    • Three different moods
    • Sound effects
  • Growing catalog of 20+ scenes
  • Playlists and templates
  • Tool Bar
    • Embed YouTube videos
    • Timer
    • Notes
    • PDF Reader
    • Insights

My experience Using Lofi.co

Integration of Lofi music and work along together with various features to choose from

Lofi.co is my favorite app of all time. I discovered it while looking for tools that would help me focus while studying, and this website is by far the best one I’ve found.

For those of you who are not familiar with Lo-Fi music, it is a music genre produced with low-fidelity signals. The beats and sounds it uses have calming and therapeutic effects, which makes it perfect for focusing. 

I love opening Lofi.co on a second monitor while I work on my laptop or iPad. It gives me full control to create the atmosphere that best works for each project. I like using the timer tool for a Pomodoro technique that boosts my productivity. The PDF reader and notes app are also very helpful when I’m studying or writing a report. 

User reviews

I wholeheartedly agree with this review. This website has the perfect vibes.

Pricing: Free Basic Plan with limited features, $2.99/month Premium Plan with full access to all features, and a $99.99 Lifetime Plan with full access to all features.

Pros And Cons of Lofi.co

Fun and interactiveFree plan only offers two scenes
Relaxing atmosphereNotes and other features only available on paid plans
Fully customizableNot great on mobile

Lofi.co is a great option for those looking for something different and who enjoy creating a relaxing atmosphere that will help them focus.

#8. Best for Mac – Byword

Homepage hero section of Byword software website

Byword is a simple markdown editor available on Mac and iOS. This app has a minimalistic approach to writing. With its simple interface and plain features, it helps avoid any outside distractions. 

Byword offers three main features: Writing, syncing, and exporting. You can draft and write your content, sync between your different devices, and then publish directly to Medium, WordPress, or other publishing websites.

Key Features

User interace of Byword tool showing various action tabs like File, Edit , Format, View, Window etc.
  • Markdown writing and editing
  • Sync between devices
  • Export and Publish
    • HTML
    • PDF
    • Rich text
    • Publishing platforms (WordPress, Medium, Tumblr, etc)

My experience Using Byword

Result output for sample text of Byword software using edit feature

Byword is a great app if you’re looking for something simple and clean. The minimalist interface is good to avoid distractions, especially if you use it in full-screen mode. 

I used this app to draft, write, and edit blog posts before I published them directly to Medium. It took me a moment to get used to the formatting tools, but once I did, it was very easy to use. 

If you want to add headings or bold, instead of the text showing in bold, you’ll notice the commands next to the text. This is good, once you export it to the publishing platform, the text will have the format you wished it to have. 

Another thing I liked about this app is that it stores the documents directly on your iCloud, so you can access them whenever from all your devices. 

User reviews

Just like this review says, Byword is a simple and nicely featured app that will make your writing simple and distraction free.

Pricing: $10.99 for Mac and $5.99 for iOS

Pros And Cons of Byword

Markdown languageNo templates
Publishing on other platformsNot for long-form writing
Simple and minimalisticNot available on Windows

Simply said, Byword is a good app if you’re looking for something clean and easy to use. The publishing features are what make Byword special and worth using.

#9. Best for Android – Pure Writer

Pure writer app on google play store

Pure Writer is a markdown editor available on the Google store for Android. The interface is minimalistic, making it perfect to avoid distractions while you write. 

This app offers auto-saving and backup options so that you can write wherever you are without fearing you’ll lose your content. It has multiple formatting options and user-friendly functions that make the writing experience pleasant and easy.

Key Features

Integrated feature dashboard of Pure Writer Tool
  • Formatting options
  • Back up
  • Export and import
  • Find and Replace
  • Typewriter Mode
  • Connect to Desktop

My experience Using Pure Writer

Result output for sample text of Pure Writer software

I used this as my on-the-go app whenever I needed to write something and I didn’t have my computer at hand. Pure Writer is a much better option than other note-taking apps because of all the features it has.

I enjoyed being able to format the text as I liked and searching and replacing words whenever I needed to. The fact that it would auto-save and make a backup was life-saving for me. I could work on my phone and then export everything to my desktop, so I could keep working on it. 

It really is an amazing app to have on the phone.

User reviews

This review hits the nail right on the head. Pure Writer is perfect for writing comfortably and keeping everything organized.

Pricing: Free to download. There is also a $4 one-time payment for Premium features

Pros And Cons of Pure Writer

Simple and minimalisticOnly available on Android
User-friendlyGoogle Drive backup glitches sometimes
Light and Dark mode

Overall, Pure Writer is a fantastic app if you’re looking for something simple and distraction free on your phone.

Comparison of the Best Distraction Free Writing Apps

Here’s a comparison of all the key features of the best writing apps that will help you avoid distractions.

App NameSuitable forSpecial featuresAccuracyPriceOur Rating
TyporaMarkdown editing, coding, short-form textsGreat for coding, 4.5/5$14.995/5
ScrivenerLong-form texts Perfect for all types of long-form texts, multiple templates5/5$59.995/5
ForestFocusing, blocking websitesPlant virtual trees, Different website blocking modes5/5$1.994.5/5
Lofi.coFocusing, relaxingLo-Fi music, fully customizable4/5$2.995/5
SereneTask tracking, Focusing, blocking websitesDaily goals, keep track of productivity5/5$44/5

FAQs On The Best Distraction Free Writing Apps

How Can Distraction Free Writing Apps Benefit You As A Writer?

Distraction free apps benefit you as a writer by making your creative process easier and more effective.  These apps range from prices to special features, but what they all have in common is that they will help you focus and avoid distractions from other websites. These apps will help you work more efficiently, be more productive, and reach your full potential.

How Can Distraction Free Writing Apps Benefit You As A Writer?

Distraction free apps benefit you as a writer by making your creative process easier and more effective. 
These apps range from prices to special features, but what they all have in common is that they will help you focus and avoid distractions from other websites. These apps will help you work more efficiently, be more productive, and reach your full potential.

Final Notes: My Experience with Distraction Free Apps

I love using distraction free apps for my writing. As a writer, I work with all types of content. From blogs to newsletters, and even novels, using writing software has helped optimize my work. 

Throughout the years I’ve tried multiple apps, some work better for specific projects, while others I still use nowadays. But no matter which one I try, they all have helped me stay focused and be more productive when it comes down to writing.

The apps I recommended in this article are apps I’ve used on multiple occasions and that I honestly believe will help you. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *