Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

2/12/2008

Simplified Writing Environments

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,GUI Center,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Linux,Ooo, shiny...,Personal,Red Herrings,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Trying to get back to basics.

So, as many of my long-time readers know, I used to write. Well, I used to write fiction. Oh, okay, I used to write a lot more fiction. But, I get distracted easily. Apparently, so do a lot of writers. It’s very easy for me to get obsessed with formats and customizing displays and so on. More so when I’m having trouble with plots. Or endings. Or, most often, beginnings.

So, when I saw an article on 43 Folders about Scrivener and other simple writing tools for OS X. Sadly, everything he talked about was for Mac only, but he linked to a Slate article on the same subject titled In search of the distraction-free computer desktop, which had a few more options.
Now, I’ve read more books and articles about writing and the writing trade than I care to admit, so I’ve seen a lot of information about different writer’s writing environments and choices. Steven Brust, who writes top-notch fantasy, uses Emacs and macros to export that to Word format to send to publishers. I tend to use OpenOffice Writer, because I can use it on any platform I might find myself and my backup laptop is running Linux. But, the articles talked about several options that I haven’t looked into yet.

One that seemed very popular is called Scrivener, but, sadly, it’s only available for OS X. Another was called WriteRoom and it has a “clone” for Windows called DarkRoom. I liked the look of DarkRoom because it was, well, simple and clean and I’ve just about convinced myself that’s what I need. A simple, clean interface with minimal distraction so that I can get to the business of writing. Finally, there was a Windows-only program called RoughDraft that one of the commenters suggested. It, too, has a clean, simple interface, though it looks more like a old-fashioned Windows file-manager than anything else. And, neither of those options truly addresses the fact that I really want to be able to write on my Linux laptop in a pinch with the same tools and configuration.
So, in the end, I’ll probably just stick with OpenOffice. Perhaps I can find a way to customize and simplify the interface on Writer to my liking. Surely, someone, somewhere, has done this and has a convenient HowTo. If not, maybe I’ll do that myself and write it up.

Then, of course, I’ll have to find another excuse not to write…


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong."
   --Warren Buffet


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