The Mac is said to be the machine of creative people; starting from graphic designers to musicians and sound engineers. There are lots of heavy applications available to cater for their needs.
But what about writers? What options do they have? Mac’s word processors are always identical to the low profile TextEdit or the heavy duty MS Word or Open Office. There’s also previously mentioned Lyx, but neither of these are built specifically for writers.
As a self-proclaimed writer myself, I constantly looking for the ultimate ‘creative writing’ tool. These four are the best free options that I’ve found so far. And with NaNoWriMo closing in, you definitely could need some help in the writing department.
Babbling With Bean
Along comes the Bean (not the British comedy movie) – a simple yet comfortable writing environment. Bean is a little bit more powerful than TextEdit while a lot more uncluttered than those ‘powerhouse’ word processors.
At the beginning, Bean was built to accommodate the creative writing hobby of the app creator. But it is not limited only to that. Just like TextEdit, Bean also could be used for general text editing purposes from quick jot of phone number and to do list to creating web page and writing programming code.
To taste the Bean, just. It’s free.
Everything that you need to write a standard document is here, and more. To make your writing life easier, open the Inspector window. Bean also supports a full screen writing environment and alternative background and font colors.
Beside the default RTF (Rich Text Format), you can save the file as RTFD, TXT, DOC, XML, and also Webarchive. There’s another option of exporting the document as HTML, PDF, RTF and DOC.
The Jer is in the Hut
There’s Jabba and there’s pizza, but this time the Hut belongs to Jer. If you’re into writing more than other common word processor users, maybe you should take a look at Jer’s Novel Writer. This ‘free for personal use’ application – with a little ‘donating reminder’ every now and then – will help any creative writer organize their disorganized ideas.
The app will give you a two-pane display – the main writing area and a small area on the left where you could put some tiny notes related to your writing. There’s also a collapsible right sidebar drawer with three tabs to make your writing life even easier: Outline, Database, and Notes.
The how-tos of Jer’s Novel Writer can be a little confusing for first time users, but there’s a quick tutorial to help you which will start the first time this application is opened. Be sure to check it out.
CopyWrite your Copies
The third candidate is CopyWrite. This one is the first creative writing application I stumbled upon and – to me – the easiest to use. This one could be used and downloaded for free but with limitations: five documents per project maximum, and without an exporting capability.
The two-pane mail-style display will give any Mac users a familiar environment to work with. The upper pane will show you the documents of your project (this could be chapters, character data, description of the settings, plots, anything) and below is the content of your selected document.
Just like Jer’s Novel Writer, CopyWrite also has a collapsible right sidebar Notes drawer with two tabs: Document and Project. Any note you write in the “˜Document’ tab will only relate specifically to one document, hence it will only open while that particular document is selected; while any note you write in the “˜Project’ tab can be opened no matter what document is being selected.
Scribbling with Scrivener
Finally, writers with a big writing project – academic writing included – could freely try Scrivener for 30 days. Tiny-project writers (doing one page reports, really short stories, that kind of things), please step back slow and easy. I’m not saying that this app could not be used to write shorties, but looking at the features Scrivener has, it’s like killing an ant with a bazooka.
There’s too much to describe about Scrivener’s features in the writing space I have here, but for a quick introduction, you might as well watch the introduction video. One feature that I like the most is the Corkboard where you could put every bit of your writing and (re)arrange them as needed.
I’ve barely scratched the surface here. To find out the details about each app, please try them out yourself. If you want to have a longer list of writing tools available to find out which one suits you best – because every writer has their own unique working style – “Literature and Latte” has already made a list available here. Or search on Make Use Of in our Mac section, our writing section, or use our search engine.
Now, the only thing left to do is start writing those best sellers. Good luck!