Writing Software Review: Q10

I was digging through the old blog and found this post from early 2013. Everything seems to still be true. Every blog post you read here was written using this software. Even with my novel, I use this in conjunction with Scrivener. 

I’ve been using my handy dandy notepad for years now. It’s much easier for me to write without lines and spell check distracting me from the ideas. However, I’ve found something better to use called Q10. This self contained simple piece of software comes in at less than 1mb, and can be ran from a jump drive. All of the files can be exported as .txt files which means they can be used on any system. The only drawback is the program is meant to run on Windows. However, I’ve been able to use it with Linux through Wine. You can find the software here, http://www.baara.com/q10/.

List of awesome Features:

Full Screen mode – The software runs the same as a shell would to block out all of the distractions. One of my biggest issues has always been having the internet at my fingertips and being connected to social media while trying to write. Somehow I always start off writing well, then four hours have passed I have 500 words and have read 30 news articles and watched 10 videos.

This is an example of what my entire computer screen looks like when I have the application running. I can switch easily between this screen and my desktop if I need to. However, this does prevent any notifications from popping up while I’m working. If you look in the bottom left you’ll see full count for: words, pages, lines, paragraphs, and characters. In the bottom right is a clock.

Goal Setting – You can setup a specific goal within the program, called a global target. This goal can be based upon words, pages, lines, paragraphs, characters, and non-space characters. If you’re trying to write a blog post with a specific word count in mind this helps you keep track and meet your goal while not going over at the same time. I use this mostly to set limits for breaks. I will write X words and then if it’s not flowing I can get up, walk around, and consider why I don’t shoot myself or worse get a 9-5 desk job.

Spell Check – The software does come in two version, one with and one without spell check. The spell check is a post writing edit, where you go through word for word and check. The built in dictionary is okay, and works well for typos. However, you can upload new dictionary versions to the software and add words to the dictionary to build and customize it to your liking. The software comes with a US and UK English dictionary standard, so you can use which ever flavor/flavour you prefer.

Auto Saving & Space Saving – You customize how often the program auto saves for you, I do 20 words. I still remember power outages from 1998 and never want to loose my documents again. However, I still find myself pressing ctl+S every few minutes regardless. The other great aspect of this is you can close the program ctl+Q (took a little while to quit pressing esc for me) and when you come back to the program it will launch the document you were last in. Great time saver for myself.

Typing Sound Effects – Now this can be annoying for some, and the feature can be turned down or completely off. However, I find the constant sound of a typewriter to be useful in keeping my mind in the zone. I’ve always had access to a computer since I learned to write, and from an early age preferred typing opposed to hand writing (my penmanship reflects accordingly); yet there is something about a typewriter that has an allure. Perhaps, it’s the romantic in my slipping out, but I’ve spent time and money to collect typewriters and have been known to use them to break writers block, but that’s another post.

Free – Perhaps the best feature, is the software is 100% free.

If you want to find out more about how I write check out the first post in my series ‘From Rat Race to Word Count‘, Step One: Readdress Priorities.

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