All too often the largest portion of my day has me slaving over a keyboard. Back in the day it was Microsoft Word for Mac and BBEdit. BBEdit remains, of course, but Word has become a dinosaur awaiting extinction as Mac users have moved en masse to lighter word processors. Even the terminology for writing on a Mac has changed. Today it’s ‘distraction free‘ and ‘minimalist‘, both of which are 21st century euphemisms for ‘not many features to learn.’
If minimalist, distraction free, and inexpensive writing tools are what you’re after, all you need is a dollar and Zen.
This inexpensive, ultra simple word processor for the Mac is indicative of the trend these days toward usability rather than a huge list of features no one uses. Usability? Zen lets you type and save what you type– distraction free, fullscreen, and, for the most part, feature free.
Indeed, the developer’s own website explains Zen this way.
- Zen is $0.99, available on Mac App Store.
- Zen helps you to focus on your writing.
- Zen is writing only.
- Zen is fullscreen.
What are Zen’s features? Zen’s website doesn’t say. Does it spellcheck? Does it have text formatting? What file format does Zen use to save files? Where are files saved? Why should I buy Zen?
Unfortunately, the Zen developer’s website doesn’t say, and neither does the Zen promo page on the Mac App Store. That’s wrong. It’s wrong to cough up even 99-cents to find out that Zen does not do as much as Apple’s built-in TextEdit app and can be distracting and disappointing for the very reason it exists. Minimalism to an extreme.
Alright, that said, Zen is very zen-like.
Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings. As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher.
In other words, in true zen fashion, not much thought or effort went into Zen. If you prefer distraction free writing tools with a minimalist learning curve, there are many, many options to consider before Zen. Check Here and Here, and there’s one Here to help you see what I mean.