Like many geeks, I enjoy trying new programs, new platforms, new games, new everything–as long as I can afford it. So last time I could afford anything, I got myself Word 2003, as well as downloading the Word 2010 Starter version. Now that’s all I use for editing and formatting my manuscripts as it has some pretty snazzy features and is capable of doing most everything you’d like to do with your document. As far as document processors go, anyway.
But when you write, do you find yourself constantly distracted by finding a better “synonym,” finding out you spent fifteen minutes trying to find a nice font to write in (I’m a font fiend), going back to fix that red squiggly line under that word you could have sworn you spelled correctly, hitting ignore on that green squiggly line claiming you wrote a Sentence Fragment (I know you can turn off the latter two but the “but-but” prevents me), or anything else that almighty MS Word / OpenOffice / etc. has to offer?
Well, I’ll let you, dear reader, in on a little secret of mine: I didn’t write my last completed story in MS Word. All 130,000+ words of my story was written in this free writing program called Write Monkey. I had a dictionary on my desk, and that was it. Misspells never haunted me. Sentence fragments, run-ons, and every other grammar issue didn’t glow on the screen. Wanted to use another word? I put it in parentheses and left it for editing time–which I didn’t do until I wrote “The End.”
Another nifty feature of Write Monkey also allowed me to use another technique: whenever I opened Write Monkey, it opened to the last document I was working on from the last paragraph. So the first (atrocious) paragraph of my book never stared at me from the get-go. Heck, I didn’t even know what I wrote in the previous page.
Now let me show you this amazing distraction-free program, which is probably one of the most excellent writing experiences I’ve ever had.
The main perk: Your entire focus is upon the words on the screen. Nothing else. It’s just you, the keyboard, and your writing project.
When you open Write Monkey, it has a small starter bubble thingy (what are they officially called?) with a different quote on it, while the program quickly opens in the background, as shown here:
That was the quote I got when I took these screenshots. Oh my, you also get a preview of the first few paragraphs of my latest story. But notice the layout: you can adjust where the text will type (as indicated by those line markers–I like to have some space at the bottom of the page, hence, why I raised the bottom border). Time is on the top right, word count in the center, and you also have an option of a word count goal (or a timing goal; i.e., write for 1 hour and 2 minutes) and it will keep progress of that goal. You can turn all those off too, if you want. You can also change the entire color scheme as well as save profiles of that scheme and everything else, as I will show you in a little bit. Me? I can’t get enough of black and hot pink. I wrote in black and green for my last novel. Getting that nostalgic Apple computer feeling back.
Note that the program takes up the entire screen–covers your taskbar, everything. 100% distraction-free.
Now here’s what happens when you right-click on any area of the screen:
Lots of options! Note that Write Monkey also has a similar “synonym” option, but I don’t use it because it will open up an external dictionary/encyclopedia/thesaurus (whatever you want to add to the program) in your internet browser (I have a fondness for Free Dictionary since a comprehensive list of synonyms and antonyms are displayed after the definition).
Now here’s what happens when I select “Preferences” which is your control panel for how you want the program to run. “Progress” selection above “Preferences” lets you set up your progress bar. “Layout” tab lets you customize your writing pane, etc.
Another perk of this program is that you can select typing sounds! I’ve got the ole’ Daisy wheel turned on. Clicks and clacks as you type (because the sounds your keyboard makes are totally lame), dings when you hit “enter” and everything else. The site also provides other typing sounds that you can download.
No ads, no popups bothering you to do anything. This is a 100% free program through and through. When you download the zip file from the site, you won’t even have to go through an installation procedure–that’s how simple this program is! Just unzip the folder in the zip to wherever you want, link it to wherever and copy the program exe file to the Desktop, or wherever you want it (I have it in my ObjectDock for uber fast access.
And that is what program I use to write. Here’s the link to download Write Monkey, if you don’t feel like scrolling all the way to the top to find it.