Writers discover focus. Film at 11.

iPad 2 as a serious writing machine (how-to):

This is liberating for a writer, and I find I can write more, and better, on the tablet system than on a “real” computer. There are no menu options competing for my attention, no updates needing to be run, just an app on the screen. Those of us who write for a living know how precious it is when you get “in the zone” while writing. The zone is that mental place where the words just flow as fast as you can type them. I find I get in the zone far more often on the iPad than on other computers. I attribute that to my focus being forced to the task at hand, and that is priceless.

[So everyone that writes this mentions the above “focus” thing and the battery life (it’s very long compared to even a current laptop). But here’s the thing. Running any app full screen will provide the focus of which they are all so enamored. Some writing apps (for the Mac) were built with exactly this in mind, and completely hide the screen. It’s now fairly common on the Mac as many apps support Lion’s “full screen mode” which takes the menus off the top, the dock off the bottom or side, and eliminates tool bars etc. So again, other than cool factor, and battery life (what did all we do until now? The horror!) these articles are simply “look at me, I’m cutting edge.” articles. I agree that adding a keyboard transforms the feel of an iPad (or iPhone) entirely. And the battery life is gloriously freeing if you’re used to the dance of power cords, and timing, and outlets. But the focus thing strikes me as people who had no clue about what as available to them for years. The change, if you can consider it one, is that the iPad doesn’t provide a choice about “one thing at time”. It is that design decision that they’re actually praising. They’re embracing the constraint and saying “behold the beauty”, even if there are plenty of times it feels in the way. For example, working on a web design where switching back and forth between editor and browser is a back and forth whip saw like action that repeats many times.) But I’m so glad that all these writers who apparently are so undisciplined that they cannot ignore the flashing of their tweets, or the siren call of menu choices have found nirvana. Now if they would just write about something worthwhile, instead of informing us of their modern version of a #2 pencil.]

PS Don’t misunderstand. I love the combination of keyboard and iPad or iPhone, it’s a really great way to go for writers and some types of tasks. But it doesn’t replace a big screen for everything. It’s just a tool, albeit a great one for some tasks.

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