2 min read

Word processors are holding you back!

Word processors are holding you back!

Using a coders editor (VSCode), as though it is a word processor, is the productivity all writers are looking for!

Visual Studio Code

The features shown here are going to allow you to write like a Pantser, but have all the context you need at a glance like a Plotter.

Image is not representative of typical use, the image opens all options for visual impact. Writing in this is extremely minimal and distraction free, after all, it is a programmers editor and they require a distraction free environment.

Plus many productivity features you didn't know you wanted:

  • Thesaurus and Synonym lookup (highlighted the word "gratitude")
  • Text to speech (what Word users think they'll miss most)
  • Optional live reader preview (on right of editor area)
  • Export manuscript (bottom centre)
  • Live word count (2222 word, bottom left)
  • Average (200 wpm) reading time (11 mins, bottom right)
  • Typewriter mode toggle on/off and other writing modes
  • Dialogue highlighting, great for editing and glancing for passive voice
  • metadata (left gutter) works best when each chapter is saved to disk as it's own file. POV and locations for the scene, characters, and other tags for handy things like planning suspense, action, mystery - pacing and plot
  • The outline is for the plotter, and for me that evolves from keywords, shorthand sentences, useful as I am writing. To a full outline used when I come back to chapters after weeks or months focussed elsewhere
  • Timeline (folded menu above metadata) is the version control. So I can quickly switch between versions of the chapter, in case a deleted portion is needed later, it may actually make sense with more editing rounds and I don't have to manage anything to have these versions (git magic)
  • Grammarly & Linggle can be used (I don't)
  • Themes (like paper colour, light/dark/high contrast) even Typewriter Sounds!
  • Many plugins for specific interests; Spelling checks with custom dictionaries and localisation, grammar issues, passive voice and other word or phrase choices that are problematic for readers, gender favouring, race related, religion inconsiderate or other unequal phrasing, Pomodoro Timer, EPUB generator, automation to avoid repetitive tasks with a single click, and much more

This is not something that requires expensive laptops (I use this on a Chromebook, a 12 year old 13" Thinkpad). It doesn't care if it runs on Windows, Mac, and I use it with Linux.

Everything listed are accessible to anyone able to use Word, it's all point-and-click, no coding required despite these being coder tools!

I'm a writer that can not relate to the Pantser or Plotter styles. I'm equal parts both, and can easily write 5 chapters of 3-5k words each, in a day, then edit them after dinner while watching a movie with my family and a glass of wine.

Having these productivity tools, the context, and performance of lightweight tools on cheap $50 Linux powered laptop - FEELS LIKE CHEATING