Best lightweight Mac text editors for long form writing?
I'm actually pretty happy with my note-taking setup, which is Simplenote paired with Justnotes (recently swapped out from Notational Velocity). But I really don't have much good going on for long form text editing. I've tried a number of apps, but haven't found something I'm very into.
For a while I was using Smultron, but then when that project died I switched to a strange hodgepodge of NV, Coda v1, and other, lesser, more developer-oriented text editors. I love WriteRoom, but it's TOO out of the way -- I want something that does a little more, like help me keep my long form stuff organized (and out of my notes), searchable, etc.
But I don't want my text editor to do TOO much more -- I think something like Scrivener is just a little much for my needs. It should also go without saying that traditional text editors like Word / Pages are totally out of the question -- especially since I prefer composing in plaintext anyway.
So, writers, what do you like?
I'm not sure if this is up your alley, but my favorite thing about MacJournal is that I can write in rich text, using all the great Mac text editing shortcuts (⌘-K to add a link, ⌘ and ⌥ + arrows for jumping around text, etc.), but then do an Edit > Copy as HTML for pasting into web CMSes. I hate looking at code while I'm supposed to be writing prose, even Markdown. I want to see clean, beautiful text while I write, just as the reader is going to read it. Best of both worlds for me.
Clicking the mark as good answer button helps us highlight the best answers.
If you don't want to deal with organizing, you could just keep hitting ⌘-N for every new piece you want to write and never create another notebook in your doc. But, for example, I had one MacJournal doc and in it I created separate notebooks for "Features" and "Reviews" to separate out my long-form stuff from the every day newsie bits. I also had an "Ideas" notebook for scraps, but that was about as organized as I usually got.
The problem with recommending your setup to anyone else is that people vary so widely in how they go about writing. I love to outline, and need a few tools for doing so, but once that is done I want to be immersed in a near featureless blank slate. iA Writer does a great job of it and the focus mode does wonders for my productivity.
* Journler feels "lighter" to me, somehow.
* Journler doesn't save your stuff to a single-file library, so it's easy to find and retrieve individual notes using Spotlight or whatever.
* Journler was first abandoned, then bug-fixed and open-sourced by its developer; if it works well for you as-is, that's great, but I wouldn't expect updates.
* I didn't spend enough time with MacJournal to compare the two in this regard, but Journler is eminently scriptable, if that sort of thing matters to you.
I keep wanting to find a lightweight text editor, but inevitably I am dissatisfied by their lack of document management/organisational features. For that reason, I usually find myself looking through the info manager pile again and ending up with some Journler-esque application (currently Evernote).
I occasionally go back to terminal-based text editors (like nano - descended of pico). I am currently exploring BBEdit . . . but it may be too much work to get it configured exactly right for writing (as opposed to scripting). And I suspect I will return to MacJournal once again.
But for writing, it's great. It does JUST enough and never, ever gets in my way.
29 users following this question, including:
This question has been viewed 6188 times.
Last activity .