Last week two applications caught my attention. WriteRoom (Mac) and Dark Room (Windows-clone). They both do share the same concept of distraction free writing. The only thing you can do is write, no highlighting, no bold or italic, just plain writing.
Especially after reading this wonderful article about managing you daily office life I tried the Mac-version. I really have to say that I did like it a lot. You just type in what comes to your mind and don’t care about layout. That you can and have to do later. However, even after writing just two or three things I changed the way I wrote. I paid more attention to the style of my writing so that even without formatted headings you can do a lot with basic text layout.
So is it a replacement for word? Yes and no. Sometimes I just want to type in stuff and word will not be the tool to layout it at the end, e.g. when writing emails. However, as I neve used layout techniques to a high extend I tried the Word full screen feature. This is almost the same as with WriteRoom, it doesn’t show anything but text and grey background. Then I set up my keyboard shortcuts to have some for heading 1 to 3 and that’s all I need now. It saves the same purpose of distracting free writing for me since there are no toolbars and so on. So, give it a try and see for yourself how different writing can be.