Pronto writing in six steps

I don’t like hand writing as much as typing simply because I’m a slow writer. The faster I write, the less legible my words become.

It’s incredibly easy to get going with a MacBook Air (Oct 2010), especially since it wakes up from sleep so quickly.

Mac OS X on my MacBook Air

  1. Open lid.
  2. Enter password.
  3. Press Command + Spacebar to activate Spotlight (or whichever keyboard shortcut used to activate Quicksilver , LaunchBar, or Alfred App), type “Bean” or whichever text editor/word processor you use, then press Enter.
  4. Frantically type whatever thoughts are spewing from your mind.
  5. Command + S to save your document, then Command + Q to quit your text editor program.
  6. Close lid.

Windows 7

You can type the program name after pressing the Windows key.

Once you’re done writing, Control + S to save your document, then Alt + F4 to close the program.


Which programs do I use to write? The following are essentially free simple text editing programs, designed with minimal features so you can focus on writing. If you like any of them, please donate to the developers.

I save these small text files to a dedicated folder within Dropbox[1. Affiliate link to Dropbox. “For every friend who joins and installs Dropbox, we’ll give you 500 MB and your friend 250MB of bonus space (up to a limit of 16 GB)!”] only for text files, with a specific prefix to help me find it later. (e.g. BP means blog post in “BP – Pronto writing in six steps.txt”.)

Why not use Microsoft Word, Apple iWork Pages, or Writer? If you’re only working with plain text, you don’t need the extra features and bloat.

If you don’t know the HTML tags for post formatting, copy your text[2. Select All for: (Windows) Ctrl+A; (Mac OS X) Command+A], paste it[3. Paste for: (Windows) Ctrl+V; (Mac OS X) Command+V] into your blog post, then format and/or add links accordingly.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. Cat whisperer. Sometimes, a photographer and card magician.

4 thoughts on “Pronto writing in six steps”

  1. I live in Textmate []. I used to use TextWrangler [] because it was free and because it was the little brother to BBEdit which is what I learned on in college. BBEdit and Textmate seem to be the defacto Mac text editors.

    For full screen plain text I sometimes use WriteRoom [] but I usually just stick with Textmate and blow up the text size.

    A more important answer to why not Textedit… Textedit is more of an .rtf editor than a .txt editor. Not a huge deal most of the time, but can get hairy when ftp-ing files to a linux server and it has some spare character you weren’t expecting. (this is almost impossible to trouble shoot, btw.)

    Another option for formatting without learning HTML is markdown []. There is a wordpress plugin and it is fairly easy to learn. Best part is that it looks good if you decide to just print your plain text (vs. HTML which requires mental filtering around all the random tags)

    Glad you are loving the Mac world. Stellar sleep and wake were one of the features that got me hooked back in the day (and spotlight/quicksilver are two that keep me hooked).


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