Writer the Internet Typewriter

I miss XyWrite III+, my favorite word processor way back in the MS-DOS days. Green monospaced characters on a black screen. It had a truly minimalist interface, even for the era, with hardly anything on the screen except for a sea of black, a single ruler bar on top, and a blinking cursor. Not much left to do but write.

And write we did.

Writer recaptures the feel of those old DOS applications. And if you’re looking for a distraction-free, no-frills word processor for serious writing, take it for a spin. Literally costs nothing to use it. And nothing much on the screen too except for your words (and at the very bottom, a few tiny icons, real-time stats like word count, etc.).

There are some modern conveniences, like the ability to change colors (if green on black makes you puke), screen fonts (you won’t be stuck with some 80s-era monospaced screen font like we were), font size, etc. This part I really love: you can turn on typewriter keystroke sounds if you want! We didn’t have that back then either. It’s funny how that aural thing changes the writing experience, even makes the keyboard feel different. Hearing that tack-tack-tackity-tack is not only focus-inducing hypnotic, I think, it somehow makes you feel like you’re actually writing. And productively.

The basic Writer is free, but you’ll need a free Big Huge Labs (its publisher) account. Your files will be automatically saved on the site, you see. This means you can work on your stuff from any computer. Don’t worry; you can easily download copies of your work at will in a variety of formats.

Use it at your own risk, though. I bet that after you actually seriously write something with it, not just some silly quick brown fox thing—especially with the typewriter sounds!—you’ll have a hard time going back to whatever it is you’re using now. You’ve been warned.

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