Software Review: WriteRoom for Mac

Over the past five years I have settled into a writing workflow that works for me. It starts with written notes (I still can’t bring myself to type my notes directly into the computer). When the research is done I type or enter everything into Scrivener (.pdfs, notes, links etc.). I then use OmniOutliner to organization the main sections of the paper, and return to Scrivener to bang out a first draft. Once the first draft is complete, I export the whole thing as a .rtf and import it into my word processor of choice, Nisus Writer Pro. All subsequent revisions take place in Nisus.

 Right now I am writing this post in WriteRoom. Writeroom is a Mac-only program that creates a black screen with green text — basically a green monitor look circa. 1985 (though there are other color options). The dilemma I face is whether I should add this program to my already extensive list of writing applications. On the one hand, it is refreshing to sit down with zero distractions and just write. No formatting, no margins, no layouts etc., and a genuinely appealing aesthetic. On the other hand, both Nisus and Scrivener offer a full screen, distraction free view options. Additionally, these other programs allow me to switch back into a mode that allows footnotes, endnotes, and other formatting options that I often need. With WriteRoom, I would have to save the text and then open it in another program to do any formatting. This wouldn’t be too troubling if it weren’t for the main sticking point with WriteRoom—price.

 The minimalist WriteRoom will run you $24.95. While that may not sound like much, the multifunctional Scrivener runs $39.99 for the standard version and there is an education discount that drops that down to $34.99. So, for $10–$15 more you get the full screen feature plus a boat-load of other useful functions. Similarly, Nisus Writer Pro with an education discount is $39.00. While WriteRoom is intriguing, at $24.99 it is overpriced given its feature set. At $9-$15 less, I might consider adding this to my writing toolbox. But at its current price, the other applications mentioned already give me the retro full screen option along with a number of other useful functions.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s