My Best Writing Tools

by Ruud Hein April 6th, 2012 


Writing is a pleasure. To make it even more enjoyable I think you should use the tool(s) you love most, enjoy the most.

These are my preferred tools.


I love the iPad for writing. It's an instant-on device, faster to launch even then my netbook from sleep state.

The lit screen and the virtual keyboard mean I can write anywhere, anytime. It's silent, almost completely non-intrusive.

Battery life rocks. One of my most reliable feeling portable work spaces.

HP Mini Netbook

hpLike the Mac Air of the PC world. The battery life is astounding, almost as good as the iPad's. I've tricked mine out with a solid state drive (SSD). Cooling is set to passive which means that when possible it will slow some things down instead of turn on the fan. Between that setting and the SSD this machine is silent.

The keyboard of the HP Mini's is unlike anything else. It's almost full size and you never feel keys are out of place. Awesome typing.


blogsyDelicious blogging app for the iPad. I often use it to write a post for Search Engine People. Before calling it a night I usually save the post as pending to the blog. That feeling that if something were to happen a copy of my post is safe on another computer is priceless.

The built-in email function which preserves full formatting is an added benefit. You can email your post to yourself, another blogging service or, as I'm prone to do, email it into your Evernote account.


writemonkeyDistraction-free, full-screen writing software for the PC. Runs by clicking the software, no installation needed. I have mine dropped in my Apps folder in Dropbox so it's available anywhere, anytime.

I use the green on black color scheme as it helps me go to another place. After writing for a little while the black screen becomes my world, my universe, my new place. Compare it to listening to trance or ambient.

WriteMonkey uses plain text files. That's cool because any app on the planet can read plain text files. You can do formatting with Markdown, among other markups.

Windows Live Writer

wlwThe best blogging software for any computer but only available for the PC. Made by Microsoft and possibly their best software. Free too.

WLW is fun and easy to blog in. With the live preview mode and the editing options so there I can quickly (too quickly sometimes...) go from writing to editing how the post will look. It's part of the reason that when I need real writing to get done I switch to one of the other tools mentioned above.

Deprecated: Simplenote, Evernote

SimpleNote: the iPad app was a pleasure to write with but there was no equally pleasant PC variant.

Evernote: most excellent set of tools but for writing... I don't think so. In the desktop versions there's just too any things distracting me. It feels of data, work, things I have to remember -- not of writing. On the iPad it just takes too long to get the app started.

I want to learn from you: what do you use, what do you recommend?

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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6 Responses to “My Best Writing Tools”

  1. Jack Keenan says:

    Two tools that I find particularly find useful are Dark Room and Notepad++. Notepad++ preserves line breaks, which makes it easy to paste my work into WordPress or another tool. Dark Room is nice because it's a full-screen application that eliminates distractions while you write. It's hard to work on the same computer that you use for entertainment, but Dark Room makes it a lot easier.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Recognize the DarkRoom motivation; it's what I use WriteMonkey for. I also love the whole retro black background/green font thing. That monochrome setting just helps me fall through the pages.

  2. Anthony says:

    I find the iPad is a good device too, but I use PlainText when I write. I am probably cheating too, because I also use a Bluetooth keyboard instead of the touch one, because I type faster that way.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Looks good, PlainText. I'm often on Writing Kit as I can switch it to black background with green font (same as my WriteMonkey setting). Use Byword too but less often.

      My ipad is in a thin Icon etui/holder. HEsitant to add bulk to the ipad with a keyboard. Also, reluctant to turn the ipad into a laptop. I would love a foldable keyboard that I can carry in my coat's inside pocket though!

  3. Leo says:

    Almost all my blogs on WordPress, so the WP app for the iPad is essential for me. Its a beautiful app, almost as powerful as its web-counterpart and really fast too. Notepad++ is another useful one.

    As for the hardware, I never really liked Netbooks a lot. I have a touch-screen-enabled 'netvertible' called the Inspiron Duo, but the problems with these 10-inch books is that the screen is usually wayy too cramped to be able to write comfortably. Plus the battery on that Insprion is beyond terrible! So for me, its switching between a trusty old 14" laptop and an iPad 2 when portability is an issue!

    • Ruud Hein says:

      The HP Mini's really are something. Keyboard is 99% full size and the big battery (the one that protrudes a bit) gets 8-10 hours. Amazing.

      Screen is indeed very small. Can't help but start to hunch over in the end :) working on the ipad is more comfortable.