What is it they say? “Do one thing and do it well.” What’s a word processor do? Processes words.
Meanwhile, your Mac is checking mail, maintaining a cluttered desktop, running RSS, and annoying you and reducing your productivity.
Enter a very unique, very Mac-like, ultra-spartan, highly-efficient neo-word processor from HogBay Software.
It’s billed as WriteRoom—distractiion free writing. In fact, WriteRoom is so distraction free that I could find only two distractions to deal with.
The first is the stark screen. Double click WriteRoom and start writing. There’s nothing else to do, and that’s a little disconcerting; a momentary distraction, if you will.
WriteRoom takes over your Mac’s screen. All of it. The screen goes black and green text is what you get when you type. It’s shades of WordStar on an IBM PC circa 1982.
There’s no menu bar, there’s no tabs, no fonts, no nothing, and lots of it. It’s just you and your Mac and whatever you choose to write.
That spartan process becomes distraction free rather quickly because your focus is totally on your writing.
The second distraction also disappears, though not as quickly as the first. All those “tools” you want? They’re gone.
While you’re in full screen writing mode there’s no menu for saving, no list of fonts, no page-break commands to insert. This distraction, too, goes away as you write.
What WriteRoom does is create this quiet room where you can write.
There’s no email popping up on screen. You can’t see anything except the screen and what you’re writing.
You don’t have to stop and save, because your document is autosaved in the background.
Simply put, this is full-screen writing and editing, the most basic of word processing.
I’ll admit that I was both surprised and flabbergasted that a Mac application could focus on the one thing that writers really want to do and do it well. Write.
But it takes some getting used to. We live in an era of multi-tasking on our computers. How many applications do you have running on your Mac right now? See what I mean?
WriteRoom beckons you to focus your attention on what you’re writing. There’s no task bar, no Dock, no side docks, bars, pop ups, no nothing. Blank screen. Blinking cursor. Time to write.
Lest you think all this simplicity is devoid of sophistication, think again. WriteRoom has a live word count, rich text, handles multiple documents, different cursors, and all the basics you need to write—not process.
I will not call WriteRoom a word processor because that’s not what it focuses you to do. It’s really a writing tool that lets you click and begin to write, grabbing your eyes and face and mind and pulling it into the screen with a total focus on writing.
I’ll also admit that it took me a few tries to figure out what WriteRoom does. At first it’s not fully distraction free because as you type you’re thinking about fonts, and paragraphs, and underlining, and tabs and indents and margins.
Those distractions melt away after awhile and you’re left with you, your keyboard (which, if you write, should be no distraction), the screen and what you write.
WriteRoom is at once advanced and antique. If you used DOS-based word processors back in the day, you’ll bring back those memories as you write, but only for a few moments of typing.
The advanced nature of WriteRoom is to eliminate the distractions around your computer, and that requires both discipline and sophistication. WriteRoom isn’t the word processor to compete with Word or Pages or Nisus. It’s the one tool for writers that lets you write with fewer distractions.
WriteRoom has plenty of customization capability, but they sit behind the scenes, waiting for you to finish writing.
Got a favorite writing tool? What’s good or not good about it? What else have you tried? Share your experience with Mac360 readers via the Comments section below.