Well, I’ve talked about writing gadgets on this blog, but never really thought to blog about writing software until today. (This changed when I was suddenly inspired by a Storywonk podcast.) So, I’ll tell you about my favorite word processor for writing new material.
Now, when I’m actually writing, the key for me has to be speed. I’ve never really found something like MS Word or Works to be good for keeping up with me when I’m coming up with new stuff, and on windows, OpenOffice writer didn’t seem to cut it either. (I find OpenOffice.org much speedier on the linux eeePC, which is good, since abiWord sucks and they’re apparently the only two options in Ubuntu town if you want to work with RTF files. But anyway…)
The thing is, I don’t want to write in a program that’s bloated down with a lot of features that I’m not going to use for writing. Each feature takes up RAM, it occupies space on the menu or the toolbar, and it’s a potential distraction. Of course, once the initial writing is done and I’m doing revision or formatting a manuscript, something like MS word is clearly the better choice.
For a long time, I was writing my stuff in WordPad and then copying to a more feature-rich word processor when I needed to – like to check on my word count. This became very frustrating once I was participating in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriYe and began to live or die by my word count.
Around this time, I discovered Roughdraft, a donationware word processor for Windows. Most of why I like it is, it’s essentially WordPad with a few really valuable added features, and few unneeded ones to bloat it down. The extra features I use more often are the word count and the page preview, essentially two different ways of checking on my progress.
It’s not a perfect program, and has been abandoned by the developer as of 2009, but I do think it’s really good and would encourage you to check it out if this description makes it sound like something that you’d be interested in.