WriteRoom and TaskPaper

Two more tools to help keep you organized and writing.

I’ve mentioned a few tools already (like Google Calendars or iCal and 750words.com). Here I’ll present two more tools that I’ve been using. Both of these tools are from the same company: Hog Bay Software. I stumbled across them by accident, but have been using them ever since.

Warning: they only work on mac, so if you’re on a PC, these are not for you.

The first tool is another way to try to keep on top of your to-do list. It’s a very simple list manager. While it is simple, it has a lot of very cool features. You can easily make multiple sections to organize your life according to research, classes, home, exercise, you name it. You can view one section at a time, or all at once. With one click, a line gets drawn through a finished task and notes the date the task was finished. A short cut puts all the finished tasks together at the bottom  of the page under the Archived Done Tasks heading.


The second tool is kind of similar to 750words, in that it’s a very simple word editor. There are no fancy features. Instead, the goal is to get you completely focused on writing by removing any distractions. Unlike 750words, there’s no word goal to reach. Instead, WriteRoom takes over your entire screen with a center pane for writing. The default is a black screen with green text – a very old-school computer look. When you’re writing, you won’t see that a new message has appeared in your email, that someone is trying to chat with you, or be as tempted by the internet. It’s a great program for removing distractions and helping you focus only on your work. Files can be saved as either .txt or .rtf. The .rtf gives you a bit more freedom as you write in that you can use the keyboard short cuts to be able to bold, underline, or italice your writing and formatting when writing a list.

Both these tools are also available as iPhone apps (which is a great topic for another day). I don’t have them for the iPhone as a) I don’t really enjoy writing long details on the phone and b) if I’m working (and therefore need to see my to-do list) I’m on my laptop.

So, if you’re on a mac, I highly recommend looking into them and giving their demo’s a try. They’re definitely “no frill” programs, but that’s one of the reasons I love them. They’re well designed to do the simple tasks they do.


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