• Software Review: Rye WP

    Although I love Microsoft Word, sometimes I need something without all the bells and whistles, so that I can really focus on putting down words. Not too long ago, I found out about a program called Rye WP that promised to help me do just that. Rye WP is a minimalist text editor in the style of ZenWriter, which I reviewed on the blog not too long ago.  Recently, I received a free copy of Rye WP in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I thought.
    Software Review: Rye WP

    Like ZenWriter, Rye WP lets you write in full-screen to minimize distractions. It also has a series of backgrounds that you can choose from to customize your writing experience. Moreover, there’s a nifty word count feature at the bottom to help you track your progress. However, that’s where the similarities end.

    Unlike Zen Writer, Rye WP is silent. In ZenWriter, background noise and typewriter sounds are enabled by default. While I usually don’t mind a little noise when I’m working, sometimes the clicking and “zen” music are too much for me. With Rye WP, there’s none of that. The focus is on writing, plain and simple.

    Rye WP also features a handy autosave function that refreshes every 30 seconds. As someone who’s paranoid about losing work, I’ve thanked God for autosave more times than I can count.

    The only thing I didn’t love about Rye WP is the spellcheck function. While I can appreciate its usefulness when composing something more formal, such as an essay or letter, I find it distracting for first drafting a chapter or a blog post.

    Overall, Rye WP is a great word processor, and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to try it. If you’re looking for a full-screen text editor that puts the focus on productivity, give Rye WP a try and let me know what you think. For more information, visit the product’s website. Rye WP is available for both Mac and PC.

    What do you think of Rye WP? How do you feel about alternative text editors?

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    Find out why @brianawrites calls Rye WP “a full-screen text editor that puts the focus on productivity.” (Click to tweet)

  • Why I Love ZenWriter

    Pile of zen rocks on a beach
    I just discovered ZenWriter, and I am so in love with it.

    For those of you who have never heard of it, ZenWriter is a program that gives you an open, peaceful place for composing your thoughts. It’s a fullscreen text editor that offers customizable backgrounds, music, and a nifty word count at the bottom of the window. By default, there’s also a typewriter sound effect that coincides with your keystrokes (and makes you feel like the next Hemingway, just so you know). It even saves your work automatically, so you don’t have to worry about losing anything.

    The fullscreen format helps cut down on distractions and keep you focused on writing. The music and backgrounds are calming, which reduces any blinking-cursor-on-a-blank-page anxiety you might feel. Since I started using this program, I’ve consistently written 2K every day. In fact, my last two installments of BLOOD AND WATER were both written in there (and then copied and pasted into Scrivener for safe keeping).

    There are only two downsides I’ve found to this program: it doesn’t offer formatting options, and it saves your work as a text file, rather than a document. Of course, I like the lack of formatting and spellcheck in the editor because it keeps me focused on the task of writing, rather than the tedious details that come along with it. As for the saving as text issue, it doesn’t affect me because I copy and paste my work into Scrivener, anyway.

    Bottom line: if you’re like me and prefer to do your actual writing in something besides Scrivener, ZenWriter makes a friendly and effective alternative to Microsoft Word and other office suites. Give it a try and see what happens. What do you have to lose?

    A free trial of ZenWriter is available here, as is the $17.50 license for the full version. I can honestly say that it’s worth every penny.

    Have you ever used ZenWriter or another distraction-free text editor? What did you think?

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    .@brianawrites shares how she’s back to meeting daily word count goals with the help of a program called ZenWriter. (Click to tweet)

  • Software Review: Scrivener for PC

    Photo Credit: morstan on Flickr

    I’ve always been an MS Word girl when it comes to writing. As long as I’ve had Word, I’ve never needed another program. It’s easy to use, and after years of working with it, I feel an odd sort of attachment to it. As the saying goes, why fix what isn’t broken?

    But I kept hearing people rave about it, and curiosity got the best of me.

    After winning NaNoWriMo this past September, I received a coupon code for half off the famed writing software Scrivener. I had heard nothing but good things about it. Although skeptical of its success, I purchased it immediately.

    The program, at first glance, looks complicated. There are folders, files, templates, and so much more.  I wasn’t sure where to get started. Luckily, Scrivener understands the learning curve. Upon opening the software, you can utilize the project wizard, which will set you up to write a novel, short story, or what have you.

    As a self-proclaimed organization junkie, I love Scrivener. I can use the cork board function to outline my whole novel at once. The character and setting sketches help me get a feel for the world of the story. Similarly, I can click between scenes and chapters and move things around if I’m unhappy with the order.

    Scrivener is awesome. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s necessary when writing a novel (because it isn’t), but it certainly helps speed the process along. I understand if you’re committed to Microsoft Word. That is understandable. But Word’s organization capabilities are pretty limited. If you’re anything like me, you should at least do the free trial. After all, you haven’t got anything to lose.

    What do you think of Scrivener? How do you use it? What other writing programs would you like to see reviewed?

    Click to tweet: Should you try Scrivener? @thecollegenov weighs in