Why I started using the minimalistic writing app, Byword.

I had heard of WriteRoom a couple of years ago when I started writing my book. Besides Microsoft Word I was curious to know what authors used to write long manuscripts. I was looking for something simple and clutter free. I can’t remember why, but I didn’t end up using WriteRoom and just wrote the manuscript using Google Docs and Microsoft Word (when I had to share some chapters with my publishers).

A few days back, I came across an article mentioning WriteRoom and thought I’d give it a shot. Maybe, just maybe it might get me to write more - I have to admit, I have not been able to write much in the last few months. It is a combination of being a dad (I have other family responsibilities that take precedence) and running a biz. Whenever I sit to write there are other thoughts that clog my mind. I need to clear my mind and focus. Maybe, the idea of having a simple, focused app could be a step in that direction. Who knows? We’ll see. I could use TextMate for writing but I use it for coding and web markup. I prefer to use apps that do 1 thing well.

Just as I was going to buy WriteRoom (a $9.99 value in the Mac App Store) I did a quick search on Google and Twitter about what others thought of WriteRoom and if there are any other alternatives. I came across this post. Minutes later I bought ByWord. Love how a recommendation can completely change your mind (note to self: make sure people are recommending DeskAway on their blogs). So, ByWord is similar to WriteRoom but better (now, there goes the less is more philosophy - come on, who are we fooling? Aren’t we silently looking for that extra feature that gets us excited cause we might use the feature someday?). Two great things about ByWord is it handles Markdown (even a quick markdown preview is available) and an option to do a paragraph or a line focus - this means that everythign else will be dimmed out. A great way to focus when editing.

A few things I learnt from this trivial experience…

  • simplicity rules

  • less is always less

  • we will use social search (than Google search) to buy online

I have written this short post on ByWord (with full screen on the MacBook Pro). Just love the full black interface and no distractions - just me and my words to play with.

Back to enjoying my Sunday…