Writing requires focused concentration. For many of us, WordPress’ Edit Post screen is not an environment that lends itself to focused concentration. I don’t think I was aware of how much I didn’t like it until I tried the clean, soothing Distraction-Free Writing feature.
If you aren’t the kind of writer who blasts music, talks on the phone and sends text messages while you’re “working”, don’t miss this feature. It’s been part of WordPress for some time now, and I’m finally getting in the habit of using it. From what I hear, not everybody is crazy about it, but I find it very conducive to productivity.
It’s very simple. On any Edit Post or Edit Page screen, choose Visual Mode, and then click the toolbar button shown below.
If you’re working in Text Mode, click the Toggle full screen button shown below.
When you press that button and switch to distraction-free writing mode, you’ll see your post or page content and a stripped-down set of formatting buttons above it, appropriate for either Visual Mode or Text Mode. As long as the cursor is outside of the editing box itself, the minimalistic toolbar is available, and works just as it does in the regular Visual Editor screen.
When you put the cursor into the actual writing area, the toolbar fades quietly away, along with the border around the writing area and the word count, a bit like family members backing out of the room after you’ve just barked at them that you’re trying to get some work done. You’re left with a pure, snowy white screen, with only the scintillating brilliance of the words you’ve typed.
To use the toolbar, or see your word count, just move the cursor outside the writing area, and they smoothly fade back in.
Switch back and forth between Visual Mode and Text Mode just as you would when using the regular old Edit Page screen.
To take the meditative environment a step further, in all the major browsers, press F-11 to remove all of the browser’s own toolbars and tabs and go completely full-screen. Press F-11 again to return to your previous browser state. WordPress’ Distraction-Free Writing mode will still be in effect until you click Exit fullscreen.
Give it a try – it just might turn you into the next Maya Angelou or F. Scott Fitzgerald.