Take it from me: Writing is hard enough without a steady stream of distractions ruining your focus -- distractions like your e-mail client, your Web browser, and even all the clutter that your word processor throws up on the screen.
So when you've got a report you need to finish before close-of-business, how can you tune out all the usual attention thieves that lurk on your PC?
Start by making them invisible. Write Space turns Google Chrome into a full-screen text editor, one that improves your focus by stripping away everything but the blank page.
In other words, no more browser shortcuts, no more Windows toolbar, no screen clutter of any kind. Sure, you can restore all that stuff with the press of the F11 key, which disables your browser's full-screen mode, but once you get in the flow, you won't want to.
Write Space works like this: after adding it to Google Chrome, you can access it by typing Write Space in the address bar, or by opening a new tab and clicking its app icon.
By default, it doesn't open full-screen, but you can enable that mode by tapping F11. To make that the default option, right-click the Write Space app icon and then click Open full screen.
You can also modify Write Space's background color, text color, line spacing, font selection, and so on. This is done by right-clicking the app icon and choosing Options. Within that Options menu you'll also find the option to import text files, which is helpful for continuining work you've already started elsewhere.
As for saving your work, Write Space does this automatically, locally, in the background. That means you don't have to worry about saving; again, you can just focus on writing. Even better, it makes your document available even when you're offline.
The hitch, of course, is that you're limited to one document at a time. And if you want to export your text, your only option is to select it all, copy it, and then paste it elsewhere.
No matter. If you're looking for a clutter-free environment in which to put your thoughts on paper (so to speak), Write Space can't be beat. And if you're not a Chrome user, check out the very similiar Writespace for Word 2007. (Alas, there doesn't appear to be a Word 2010-compatible version as of yet.) Of course, there are plenty of other distraction-free writing tools at your disposal, so you may find something else you like better.
If you already have, hit the comments and tell me about it. And if you've tried one of these tools and found you can't live with such bare-bones text editing, tell me about that, too.