This post at Unclutterer rings true: Often imposing certain kinds of limits on yourself as a writer—practical, technological limitations on the act of writing, rather than stylistic or substantive limits on content, though there’s something to be said for that as well—can be enormously helpful. The post highlights a handy looking writing tool whose primary feature is… no features: Just a full-screen, old-school green-on-black display for typing in plain text.
The post goes on to sing the praises of old tech and lo-fi writing tools, which is a nice idea as well, but I should note that the opposite can hold true in a way also. I’m seldom as productive as when I leave the laptop at home and drag a few books and a writing pad out to a local café. But I can’t always do that, because I do want to be able to check my e-mail at least periodically, to have an occasional eye on any developing news stories, and to be able to look things up online as needed while I’m writing. And because of that, getting an iPhone has allowed me to finally start leaving my computer behind with some regularity: I can look up specific things as necessary, but it’s not really an interface conducive to the kind of extended, aimless Web surfing that makes it so easy to fritter away an hour or two without really noticing.