Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Word Processor Wars

I went to a writing experiment a week ago (involving a bunch of writers, a bunch of laptops, random word pairings, a really hot house, and 60 minutes). When we sat down to write, my writing friend / critique partner leaned over and said, “How do you set it to double space?”

Okay, she is a WRITER, mind you. I looked at her, baffled, and said, “Um... Don’t you use Word like all the time?

Nope. She uses Scrivener.

At the risk of being called narrow minded, I’ll admit: I figured everyone in the writing world used Word or Open Office. (I mean, I don't. But I figured everyone else did.) Seriously? People use other programs? This is news to me.

It got me wondering if there are OTHER programs people use. Are there some better than others? Some more conducive to writing? Do you have one you absolutely love and couldn’t live without? We need to know!

So without further ado, I officially welcome you to [drum roll, please]:

Here’s the deal. Leave in the comments what program you use to write. I’ll check in several times throughout the next couple of days to update which is winning. You can either leave a single word (or two or three) comment, such as “Word” or “Open Office,” or you can use the comments as your soap box. Convince us all why the word processor you use is the best! Keep it friendly, of course.

I’ll start us off.

I’m a true-blue WordPerfect lover. I realize not many people in the world use WordPerfect, but I swear that everything is easier in it. Years and years ago, I worked for WordPerfect as technical support. I talked people through how to use every feature of the program, so I KNOW how awesome it is. I couldn’t live without it. Since WordPerfect is THE BEST PROGRAM EVER, it used to be the king of word processors. Then, of course, Microsoft took over the world and booted WP off its well-deserved throne. (Grr, Microsoft. Because of that, I’m totally okay that it's now Google taking over the world. Why? Because they aren’t you. Plus, they put cool pictures that spell Google at Impress me visually, and I’ll love you forever. (I just won’t use a word processor from you, because I already have the best one ever.)) Even without the throne, in my mind WordPerfect will always remain King.

Now it’s your turn! Toss your favorite program in the ring, I'll add a little red person next to your word processor for each person's vote, and we’ll see which one comes out on top!

*Of course, in my narrow-minded approach to word processing, I'm sure I don’t have all of the possibilities listed here. Rest assured, though, that if you mention one in the comments that I didn’t list, I will put it with the rest as soon as humanly possible.

Let the battle commence!


Stacy Henrie said...

I'm a Word girl. :)

Kelley Lynn said...

Hmmm, all right. I assumed everyone used Microsoft Word as well...

That's what I use but I can't really 'go into the ring' for it. I don't know what else is out there.

But, it serves my purpose.

BECKY said...

Hi Peggy. What a great post! I'm sure there are fabulous programs for writers, such as the ones listed, but I've always only used Word....'cause that's what's on my computer and laptop! :D
If I can be convinced otherwise, I'll certainly give it a try. So, I'm like Kelley...I can't really vote either!

The East Coaster said...

Open Office (but only after downloading all the author/writing extensions)

Ruth Josse said...

Open Office. And only because it was free.

The East Coaster - writing extensions??? I need to see what that's all about.

Shilpa Mudiganti said...

Hello Peggy, a very interesting post. I stumbled upon these OTHER softwares while I was writing my novel. And I finally found one that I want to use.

WriteMonkey : for my first draft
Microsoft Word: For revisions

The good thing about WriteMonkey is it covers up the whole screen and it helps you not get distracted while writing. :)

There's my entry!

Francesca Zappia said...

Am I the first for Scrivener?

....SCRIVENER! Whoooooooo

I used to do Word, until A.) my computer crashed and I lost it, and B.) I realized that Scrivener will compile your WIP into manuscript format for you in like 2 seconds.

Jenny S. Morris said...

Pen and Paper-1st draft
MS Word the rest of the time.

But, I want to try Scrivener-I've heard its wonderful.

Kristine said...

Mostly because it's the most mainstream - therefore it's what I was trained with and know the best.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I use Word. I've always used Word, so I can't really compare. But I've heard so many good things about Scrivener that I'm tempted to give it a go. This is on my to do list. Fun post!

linda said...

I mostly use Word. If I can vote for a secondary one I'd say Google Docs.

Jolene Perry said...

My husband's an attorney and SO many of them still use word perfect.

I use word. not because I love it, but because as I was looking into finding an agent SO many just as for a word doc. It seemed silly to use scrivner (even though people love it) just to change it back into word.

Lydia Kang said...

I use Word for Mac. I downloaded a free trial of Scrivener, but I couldn't get into it.

Ryan Stuart Lowe said...

I use Word, which is pretty standard/vanilla. BUT I am finicky about which version of Word I use.

I use MS Word 2003 because I find the newer versions obnoxious. Tabs instead of drop-lists? pssh. :-)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Stacy-- Vote counted.

Kelley-- Haha! My thoughts on Word as well. Vote counted.

Becky-- I think a lot of people feel the same way! Vote counted.

The East Coaster-- Ooo! Author / writer extensions! You totally piqued my interest. Vote counted.

Ruth-- That's one of the best reasons why to use a program. :) Vote counted.

Shilpa-- I had never even heard of WriteMonkey! (See? Narrow minded word processor thinking at work.) I added it to the list, and counted both votes.

Francesca-- Woo hoo! First Scrivener vote of the day! I've heard it's really cool. I didn't know about the manuscript formatting part. Vote counted.

Jenny-- Wow. Pen and paper. Yay! That's awesome. I put you down as votes for both that and Word.

Kristine-- Sigh. That's why so many people use it. REGARDLESS of the fact that I'm standing on my soap box, begging the world to switch to WordPerfect.

Cynthia-- I'm tempted to try it, too. Vote counted.

Linda-- Ooo! First vote of the day for Google Docs! I added it to the list, and put you down as votes for both.

Jolene-- I suddenly have a great love for the attorney community! Awww. Warms my heart, it does. And I have Word on my computer for the same reason. That, and it's what my writing group uses. Vote counted.

Lydia-- Hmm. Good to hear from people who tried Scrivener but didn't like it. Thanks! Vote counted.

Ryan-- I hear you! When I have to use Word, I use Word 2003 also. Vote counted.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

What a fun idea! WORD! The processor, not the slang! ;)

Leigh Ann said...

Scrivener, oh so COMPLETELY Scrivener (that should count as two.)

It is perfect for a pantser like me. I would probably stop writing without it. Or at least keel over and die.

(But, for notes on the go, I actually use EVERNOTE, which is what I've heard a couple people say they do the whole darn thing with. It syncs across all my devices, making my smartphone a bedside/purse notebook that beams automatically to my desktop.)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Chantele-- Haha! Your comment made me almost spray diet coke all over my computer screen! Vote counted.

Leigh Ann-- Oh, wow. THAT in love with it, huh? I'm definitely going to have to check Scrivener out! And I hadn't even heard of Evernote. That sounds like twenty kinds of awesome. I added it to the list, and counted both votes.

Abby Fowers said...

I must be really narrow minded because I don't know half of these! lol. I USED to use WordPerfect constantly. Love it still. But I am currently using WORD, I feel it is more universal.

Jessie Humphries said...

WORD to your mother!

Tara said...

I remember using Word Perfect waaay back in the day (I think it was 3.1 lol), but now I use WORD.

I've tried other types of software, including the Scrivenor beta for Windows, but I always go back to MSWord.

Bkloss said...

OH what a neat experiment!



I think if I tried any other program all my characters would run out of my head and find some other poor sap to inhabit. (they are resistant to change. major character flaw.)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Abby-- I love you. I put you down as 1/2 a vote for WordPerfect since you love it still. (And in my mind you'd be using it if MS hadn't taken over the world!) Plus, my little red guy next to WP was feeling all lonely. I also put you down for a vote on Word.

Jessie-- Haha! You crack me up! Vote counted.

TaraNator-- Wow! That was a long time ago. I think I started working there supporting the DOS version 5.1. Makes me happy just knowing you used it once upon a time. :) I put your vote down for Word.

Carrie Butler said...

I'm definitely a Word girl. :)

(Though, sometimes I free write in TextRoom first. Minimalist, I tell you! It's just a rich text editor, but it keeps me focused.)

hwilstead said...

Peggy I still use WordPerfect, too! I LOVE it! Word just BUGS me! It seems so counter-intuitive to me.

Mark said...

I use Word, Open Office, GDocs, and notepaper:) Nice job listing all the possibilities:)

Jade @ Chasing Empty Pavements said...

Awesome Post but I'm surprised more people don't use Scrivener. I'm IN LOVE with it! I think its the best thing since sliced bread!

Tara Tyler said...

you mean there's other word processors than word ? huh!

Peggy Eddleman said...

Barbara-- Hahahaha! Hehehehe! Hahaha! [Gasp for air] That is awesome. Vote counted.

Carrie-- Ahh. Nice plan! Vote counted.

hwilstead-- Might this be the Heather that I sat next to FOREVER while we worked at WordPerfect together a million years ago?! If so, YAY! Glad to see you stayed true to WordPerfect. I mean it is the best choice and all. :) Vote definitely counted.

Mark-- Keep your options open. Love it. Votes counted on all four.

Chasing-- Don't you feel good having helped to spread the word on how awesome it is? You helped me want to check it out! Vote counted.

Tara-- Hahaha! You sound like me! Apparently there is an abundancy of choices we never knew we had! Vote counted for Word.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I use Word.
(I actually thought Scrivener would be higher--those who use it seem to rave about it)

Lani Wendt Young said...

Im an idiot. I didnt know there was anything else besides Word. And i think its probably too late to try and teach this old dog any new tricks.

Donna K. Weaver said...

This is a hilarious post. I love it! I have this challenge at work. When the city code was shifted from WordPerfect (which was created in my city's office space years ago) to Word, it was determined that the rest of the city would have to make the shift. Um. Ten years later and we still have some WordPerfect diehards. =D

edwin said...

Just to skew the growing curve, I use the text editor Notepad++. No fancy formatting, annoying style sheets, or propriety file formats.

J+S said...

I use Word now, but only because I was forced to. I agree with you. I LOVED WordPerfect.

Brenda Sills said...

Chalk me up for two of those. I write with a pen and notebook - there's nothing like my words flowing from my pen across the paper. Ah the raw creativity of it! After I'm done with my writing goal for the day, I type it up on Word. There ya go!

Talei said...

Wow, who knew there were so many word options out there. I'm using MS word on both my netbook and my Mac. The Mac version is pretty challenging to use sometimes but I couldn't deal with learning a new programme for my writing. ;-))

Have a fab week!

Leah said...

This is going to sound a bit strange, but I use Open Office, despite not liking it very much.

Formatting issues galore, and don't even get me started on the time it took a five page essay (In Japanese, nonetheless.) and turned it into a series of questions marks.

However, it's free and I'm cheap.

Leigh Ann said...


I will send cookies to the first person who tries it in earnest. Serious.

Christina Lee said...

I soso *want* to try Scrivenger. But my lazy butt uses WORD!

Unknown said...

I used to use Word but now I use Scrivener. I probably wont go back. Love it too much. It takes some getting used to but it's worth it.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Linda-- I thought it would be higher, too! Of course I've been too lazy to check it out and learn a new program, too. Vote counted.

Lani-- Haha! I agree. One program does the job. Who wants to learn new tricks anyway?

Donna-- I have a sneaking suspicion that we don't live too far away from each other. And those WP die hards? Those are my kind of people! I'm guessing your vote is for Word?

Edwin-- Sometimes the simplest thing is the best thing! You're the second who has mentioned using a text editor. I added it to the list, and counted your vote.

Jennifer-- I love you. Vote counted. (The Word one officially, the WP one in my mind. :))

Brenda-- I am so fascinated when people write with pen and paper! I think it's so cool. Votes counted for both.

Talei-- I had no idea either! Vote counted.

Leah-- Word processors cost A TON! Free is a really good reason for choosing something. But seriously? Question marks for the entire file? Did you have to start completely over? I think I'd cry. Actually, I probably would've cried writing a five page essay in Japanese to start with. :) Vote counted.


Christina-- Leigh Ann says there's cookies in it for you if you switch! Vote counted.

Clarissa-- HEY EVERYONE. CLARISSA SAYS IT'S TOTALLY WORTH IT. (Not that I'm preaching anything other than WP, of course.) Vote counted.

Jennie Bennett said...

I've heard that Word perfect gives you many an issue if you are trying to e-publish, and that you should switch to Word or Open Office instead. I personally use Word, but maybe I should look into Scrivenger, since everyone seems to like it so much :)

linda said...

Haha I was wondering about that half-a-stick-figure next to WordPerfect. Made a lot more sense after I read the comments. :) Thanks for the fun poll and graphics!

Taffy said...

I use Word then Scrivener.
I LOVE Scrivener! I love setting up different chapters and character folders. Everything is easy to find. And I can import pics of my characters and research. Love it.

Leigh Ann said...

It is true. I just made a bunch today (peanut butter butterscotch, and chocolate chip funfetti.) And I took pictures of them. They are ready to ship.

Peggy Eddleman said...

J.A.-- I have Word, too, just for cases when I need it. And if you decide to check out Scrivener, let Leigh Ann know. There's cookies! And vote counted.

Linda-- :) I couldn't resist. Thanks! And you're welcome!

Taffy-- It sounds REALLY cool. I didn't know about the pictures / research part. Vote counted.

Leigh Ann-- Are you sending me pictures?

Olivia Petty said...

I actually use text edit on mac's.
which is awful for writing legitimately.
like. it's just for quick notes...

Unknown said...

I use Scrivener. I was using Open Office up until July, then I downloaded the free trial on a whim. I'm never going back. It's amazing, and I know I'm not even using half of the features. Project targets, outlines, split screen, and full screen mode for 0 distractions are all amazing.