Mathias Vestergaard Corp.

Creative Misfit

Anti-streamlining with WriteMonkey

Published on June 22nd, 2009


Screenshot of the WriteMonkey user interface. Full screen and no toolbars.

In the late 1980s “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) editors streamlined text production. You could now write, edit and layout your text in one tool.

But streamlining is not always the best solution. I’ve found that the mix of writing, editing and layouting text, e.g. in Word, can be incredibly distracting. The automatic spell checker with the curly red underlines interupts my writing. I feel I need to go back and correct my mistake. Annoying and counterproductive – at least for creative writing. However, I never really thought about all this before someone showed me a little program called WriteMonkey (mac-people: check out WriteRoom). With an incredibly minimalist interface, the program has pretty much nothing to disturb your concentration.

I’ve now been using the program for more than a month and I’m falling in love. It’s not the perfect solution for everything, since it adds an extra element to the process. After writing I always need to use a different program for spell check and layout. For e-mails I still prefer Outlook/Word. But for everything where I need to focus and concentrate on the writing itself, I find the tool to be brilliant. Give it a try and see for yourself.


See also: Undisturbed writing, Project: – a new guide to Århus, Online education:,


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