Posted Nov 6, 2010 21:12 UTC (Sat) by boudewijn
In reply to: Déjà vu
Parent article: FocusWriter is all writing, no distractions
Why? Mark Pilgrim obviously doesn't get it -- he even admits he doesn't understand why one would select a no-distractions word processor. But since when is lack of understanding insightful? He tries to be funny, but gosh, I am tired of that kind of "I don't get it -- aren't they dumb!" sort of funny. It makes people stupid. Since the author of FocusWriter wrote it for one particular user, his time was well-spent.
But for the people who are stuck in the late seventies: a text editor is not a good tool for writing novels. Syntax highlighting is of very limited use when writing human languages...
I have written three novels (unpublished, but I've written them), one book on Python (published), a dozen or so articles for journals and websites, a manual for an application, and a heck of a lot of code in languages ranging from Sinclair Basic to C++. And I have used NEdit, WordPerfect, Word, XEmacs, KWrite and Vim. And I compiled the collected works of a friend using oowriter. And you know what? I tried all those and then tried a new one because they all sucked for the purpose of writing reams of text.
When writing a novel, you need you text, in a pleasing font, no distractions and a gentle hint that you've reached your goal for today and can knock off for a game of frozen bubble. Oh, and reasonable speed with 100,000 words in the buffer. FocusWriter provides that. I learned about it yesterday, and I love it.
Vim and (X)Emacs have distractions galore, ranging from stupid help texts to a running commentary telling me where I am on the current line to Emacs' insistence on taking away two lines of the screen: one to tell me what mode I am in and one to allow me to ping a host somewhere on the Internet.
And if you have never written a novel yourself, you don't know to what lengths authors go to procrastinate. I know -- because I started working on Krita so I could have an application to draw a map while on the train for the novel I was writing. Seven years later, I'm still hacking, not writing. So, no distractions == good. FocusWriter's theme settings dialog is already a little too much...
(Oh, and for coding, I use Qt Creator these days. With a side dish of vim. Both suck for writing text. I used to use KWrite -- but I have changed, since yesterday.)
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