all you need is a cursor

February 24, 2010

You just have to keep moving that cursor to the right.

I recall Andy Ihnatko giving writing advice to that effect some time ago on MacBreak Weekly. It’s an image that has stayed with me. And it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds.

When it comes down to it, all you really need to write is a cursor…and maybe the last few letters or words you’ve typed. My writing workflow has changed a great deal in the last few years — most writing that is over a few paragraphs starts somewhere besides my blog editor or word processor.

Scrivener and Ulysses have worked well for a few projects, but even they can have more going on with the screen than i want to see. Of course, both of those, as well as WriteRoom, and now Pages, offer full screen editing. And some like to go all Zen with Ommwriter. But I still prefer a simple app window with, you know, a cursor and some text.

Not long ago, I stumbled on MyColumn. It’s a free download from Literature and Latte — the makers of Scrivener. It’s really sexy. A white box, with black text in clean typography.

And a cursor.

As the title suggests, it reads like a newspaper column, stretching the text across narrow columns. Having less horizontal ground to cover makes that cursor feel like it’s moving more. It works for me.

There are no preferences. You can change the typeface if you want to. Or add bold, italics, etc. But all I really want is a cursor that moves to the right. And I’m finding that when I use MyColumn, it does.

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