Two programs I’ve found on the Internet that are invaluable to me for writing are WriteMonkey and Focus Booster.
WriteMonkey is a simple, free .NET 3.5 program that presents you with a black screen, green text, a flashing cursor and nothing else.
This decided minimalism helps you to focus on your writing without any of the visual and attention grabbing distractions that inhabit the modern computer desktop.
It works on any Windows computer with the .NET Framework installed. It might work also on Mac and Linux if you use Mono (I haven’t tried this).
Focus Booster is a free Adobe AIR app that is the electronic alternative to one of those red, apple shaped cooking timers.
It counts down alternating blocks of working and playing time as recommended by the Pomodoro Technique. This helps you to recognize the passage of time as you work and minimize fatigue by constantly having brief play/rest time interspersed with focused work.
It should work on any computer provided that you have Adobe AIR installed first.
Happy New Year to everybody and cheers to productive and fun months to come.