Some people need noise to concentrate: background music, the hiss of an espresso machine, the latest rotation on their personal listening device.
Not me. I need quiet — and I don’t just mean the soundscape. I need visual quiet too. This is why web apps like the popular Evernote don’t work for me. Not only do I find Evernote visually busy, but the learning curve to use all its features takes away from my work time instead of adding to it.
If you’re a simplicity freak like me, here are two online tools you might enjoy.
Take Your Morning Pages Online with 750Words
Are you a fan of Julia Cameron’s morning pages? Then you’ll want to check out Buster Benson’s ultra-nifty 750Words.
The basic idea of morning pages is to write three pages every day in stream-of-consciousness style, to clear your mind and stoke your creative fire. Cameron introduced morning pages as a longhand practice with a pen and paper journal.
But why not experiment with typing online instead? Buster Benson created 750Words, an elegantly simple online framework for doing your morning pages. You might love it. I do. It’s not blogging: your writing is totally private, just for you.
Nope, you can’t change the font or add fancy formatting or do anything else that will distract you from writing. The website is almost invisible — once you join, you just log in and start writing. No learning curve.
Your work is automatically saved, and you get a message when you hit the 750-word mark. You can export your entries if you like. I export mine at the end of every month and print them up.
You can earn points for writing your quota each day, get funny little animal badges and track your metadata (Benson is a metadata fanatic). Or you can just write.
It’s pretty interesting to watch your total word count pile up. I’ve now written over a hundred thousand words. Wow!
I started supporting 750Words with a $5-a-month donation a while back, when the site was free. Yes, I love it that much. You can still try the site for free for 30 days, but now Benson and his sweetie-pie are charging $5 a month to help cover their costs and time. If you really don’t have the five bucks, though, they’ll give you a free pass if you plead your case.
Clear the Way to Easy Reading with Readability
Readability is a free web app that you install in your browser. (Hey, if I can do it, so can you.)
You know those times when you find an intriguing article on a website, but you can hardly read it because the site is such an eyeball-busting cacophony of boxes, columns, pop-ups and graphics?
Well, just click the Readability icon and … presto, a clean web page opens with n o t h i n g b u t y o u r a r t i c l e . Oh, wait till you see, it’s a thing of beauty, like when the neighbours finally turn down their stereo after hours of thumping base. Breathing space for your eyes. Room to think. (Remember thinking?)
You can customize the style and type size you want. And you can save articles to read later.
Readability works for smartphones and tablets too.
I think you might like it.