George RR Martin Explains Why He Writes in a DOS-Based Word Program

George game-of-thrones[1]RR Martin is well-known for writing the immensely successful Game of Throne series, but he is also rapidly becoming almost as well-known amongst his fans for a particular writing quirk.

Last night the author confessed to late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien that he writes on a computer system which is older than some of his fans.

“I actually have two computers,” Martin told Conan. “I have a computer I browse the Internet with and I get my email on, and I do my taxes on. And then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine, not connected to the Internet. I use WordStar 4.0 as my word processing system.”

In short, Martin has created a distraction-free writing environment, and I envy him. The internet is a tempting distraction which I have to fight everyday. In fact, my better writing days can often be measured by how successfully I ignored the internet.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Maurício14 May, 2014

    What do you write, Nate? I keep finding myself reading stuff in this blog that really, REALLY do not interest me, but I like your writing.

  2. David Gaughran14 May, 2014

    When working on my laptop I use Freedom – – best $10 I ever spent. It disables my wifi for whatever period I input – usually 30-40 mins. The only way of getting online before that is restarting the computer. And that feels like such a failure that I’ve only done it once.

    But mostly I still write by hand – out of the house and away from my computer. My phone is a dumb-phone, deliberately. I’m too distractible and have to take such measures to get anything done at all.

  3. Ralph Hummel15 May, 2014

    The man’s nailed it! 100%! Jeez!
    I have installed software on my writing laptop that blocks access to the internet during my “writing time” and I use Scrivener for writing which comes with a very handy full-screen mode that I have set-up to emulate those old monochrome monitors where no menu-bars or anything else distract me from my writing efforts.
    Maybe, just maybe, one of these days something good will actually be the result of this “old-style” writing.
    Big thumbs up for George RR!


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