ZenWriter – Writing without a net

A week ago I’d never heard of ZenWriter. Now I seem to use it for all my writing and turn my back on Word every chance I get. I’d heard of the concept of full screen, distraction free editors, but never looked into them. By happenstance, ZenWriter was on sale at BitsDuJour. I was immediately intrigued and downloaded a copy. I liked the idea right off the bat, then when I configured the background wallpaper and muted it with the "Night" setting I stared in awe. How could a word processor looked so beautiful? I’m so used to that stupid white page and blue background that it was almost unsettling to see something else. It was just so foreign after all these years. But what an idea!

The screen is dark and the text is white. There aren’t any menus. There’s no formatting hassles to get in the way. There’s no grammar check. There’s not even a right click option. There aren’t any scrollbars either. There’s nothing but a blank page waiting for me to fill it up. It’s a strange feeling to work completely without a net. There’s nothing on the screen to say you misspelled a word or used the wrong one. I have to rely on myself. It’s sort of nerve-wracking to be honest. But without all those visual distractions I can really focus in and write with reckless abandon.

I’ve been desperately trying to make Word work this way for months and just can’t do it. I did find a way to turn off the ribbon bar and all the menus so you can write in a full screen editor, but the outlying page is still that craptacular blue that I just can’t stand anymore. I can change the color of the page or make it a image, but it just isn’t the same. It doesn’t have anywhere the same look and feel. With all hundreds of megs of space Word is taking up on my drive and in memory, you would think someone would have written a couple of lines of codes to make a proper set of "color schemes". It’s 2011 and the best I can do is color it blue, silver or black. Thanks for all the choices!

This ZenWriter is lovely, it really is. It’s about as stripped down as you can get, but that is strangely appealing. It might be silly, but the visual appeal of the page makes me want to stay on it and keep writing. I miss AutoCorrect and grammar checking, but ZenWriter has its own appeal keeps me coming back to it.

Does anyone else use one of the distraction free editors? Is there any way to get the same look and feel when using Word?



Look at that screen! It’s lovely!

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