Cogito ergo sum. With apologies to René Descartes’ famous “I think, therefore, I am” as a writer I’m genetically required to edit that down to, “I write, therefore, I think.”
One of the saddest aspects of the information superhighway known as the internet is this. We are awash in the written word (not to mention a gazillion videos of jackasses, kittens, and videos that cannot be good for humankind). Misinformation seems to rule.
Back in the day we were required to master a word processor before writing. We were taught to use formatting tools, check spelling and grammar, understand how words had meaning, and to use analysis to explain thoughts and actions.
These days the Mac world is full of what are called minimalist writing apps– not word processors. Word and Pages? Meh. Too much trouble to learn. Anyone with a Mac and an idea can sit down and write without distraction. In fact, minimalist and distraction free are the two newest buzzwords for writers, and top the features list of new writing tools.
Enter Paper. It’s minimalist and distraction free Mac writing tool that looks pretty much like, well, uh, paper.
Minimalist? Check. Distraction free? Check. Features? Uh, you have too look but some are there and they are useful. Obviously, Paper is meant to function like paper and pen but with your Mac’s keyboard as the most distracting element.
Still, Paper has capability.
- Rich Text support
- Markdown built-in
- PDF, HTML, RTF export
- Intelligent formatting tools
- Gestures and shortcuts
- Polyglot clipboard
- Customizations (upgrade)
- A few Easter eggs (I haven’t found them yet)
Once you begin writing on Paper it begins to look and feel more, uh, well, normal.
So far, so good.
The real deal here is back to the basics of paper. Real paper is as minimalist as you can get except for a fleeting thought. Real paper is distraction free except for the fear of writer’s block. Paper the app is a blank screen, a digital version of a blank sheet of paper that awaits the transfer from your thoughts to the capture medium.
The more you use Paper, the better it gets. Unless you believe in formatting. Paper is a thought’s first capture medium.
Not bad for free, but there is an in-app option to purchase a few more tools and that brings the price tag up to almost a word processor level but without all those distracting formatting tools that complicate minimalism.
What I would like to see is an iPad version with an iCloud and Dropbox sync capability. I’ve taken to using iPad to capture thoughts without having to resort to the formality of sitting down in front of the Mac.