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NYT Magazine covers Scrivener, other OS X writing apps

An Interface of One’s Own

I was delighted to see my favorite OS X writing app, Scrivener, turn up in today's "The Medium" column of the New York Times Magazine. I reviewed Scrivener about a year ago, and still use it whenever I have to research, plan, and draft anything more complicated than a blog post. In fact, as luck would have it, I was actually working on my upcoming Macworld talk in Scrivener when I took a break to read the paper and saw this article. Kismet or something.

Columnist, Virginia Heffernan, notes the app's beloved full-screen capability:

To create art, you need peace and quiet. Not only does Scrivener save like a maniac so you needn’t bother, you also get to drop the curtain on life’s prosaic demands with a feature that makes its users swoon: full screen. When you’re working on a Scrivener opus, you’re not surrounded by teetering stacks of Firefox windows showing old Google searches or Citibank reports of suspicious activity. Life’s daily cares slip into the shadows. What emerges instead is one pristine and welcoming scroll: Your clean and focused mind.

High fives to other great apps mentioned in the article, including Ulysses, WriteRoom, and Nisus Writer. Slightly lower fives go to Microsoft Word, which, once again, takes its usual drubbing as The Application Everyone Wants To Get Away From™. Poor Microsoft Word, the mascara-smeared Gloria Swanson of word processors.

In the year since I wrote my own review of Scrivener, I still find myself relying heavily on it for housing the research, braindumps, and very early draft shapes of most longer pieces I do. Falling somewhere between OmniOutliner, DevonTHINK, and the aforementioned WriteRoom, Scrivener is still, in my opinion, the go-to app for all-in-one research and writing.

As ever, YMMV. This app is absolutely not for everyone (especially if you don't have the need for lots of complicated research and organizational hooks), but if you struggle to find a writing environment that maps to the way your own writing brain operates, I still highly recommend checking out the free Scrivener download.

mdl's picture

Hate to be the crufty old codger here...

...but full screen is hardly a new feature in writing apps. Vi gives you the text and nothing but the text for free--ten years ago, now, and forever.

IMHO, if you can devote a couple of weeks to learning *nix tools and LaTeX, then you've discovered writer's nirvana. Simple text files are the ultimate modular approach to writing. You can outline, merge, split, search to your heart's delight. Complete cross-platform compatibility. Full screen. No distractions. (And did I mention free?) And with vi or Emacs (no flame wars please) you can type and revise faster than you ever thought possible. Ooooh.... and the beautiful typeset output that will leave all those benighted MS Word souls drooling with envy. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me what MS Word fonts and styles I use... (chuckle, chuckle, chuckle). The only problem comes from the MS lackeys who request files be emailed to them as Word documents. I've even had a few incorrigible doc abusers freak out because they don't know what a PDF is.




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