Zen writing: best free minimalistic word processing apps

Disturbances and loss of the ability to focus seem to be the curse of modern world. All these social networks, messengers and ideas of “what to google” can make it pretty hard to concentrate on writing. But sometimes you just need to “unplug” in order to finish a good text, whatever it is: a blog post, an essay or a book.

There are software applications that allow you to do exactly that. Often you don’t need billions of formatting options, smart integration opportunities and other features of bloated Microsoft Office. What you need is to write. Then, you can do all the formatting, proof reading, illustration, etc. So, what are the best free tools that are perfect for this task?

Windows apps

1. CreaWriter

Great user-friendly word processor. However, a little limited in a free version.


Download free version of CreaWriter, installer.

2. Q10

Highly customizable and very light-weighted. However, there is no interface, so you’ll have to set it up manually.


Download free Q10, portable version.

Mac OS X apps


Meditative word processor with calm music and beautiful background.


Screenshot and promotional video speak for themselves.

Download free version of OmmWriter

Also, if you’re ready to pay for the right software (or know how to use torrents ;)), you might want to consider Scrivener designed specifically for writing.

Web-based service

1. Google Docs

Well, it’s just obvious. But if you still haven’t tried this service, that’s probably the right moment. Yes, it inherits some of Microsoft Word weaknesses and it’s still kind of beta. However it’s very easy-to-use and simply a great tool.

2. My Writing Nook

It’s a service developed specifically for books writing. Auto-saving, word count, thesaurus, etc. Nothing particularly exciting but does its job and may be a good option for some of you.

Any additions? What’s your favorite tool?


  1. Hi,

    personally, I use Keynote (http://www.tranglos.com/free/keynote.html) for almost all my writing.
    I use one tab per project plus a tab for non-project stuff such as personal weekly review, blog posts, etc.

    This was at the beginning a replacement for OneNote, but though it's not as beautiful, is is far more powerful!

    1. I come back one year ago to say I found a rather pleasant alternative: evernote:
      – first, it is available on many platforms, so you can work offline.
      – second, your data is stored on the cloud: you can get it from anywhere.
      – third, it’s got a nice Firefox add-in for web-clipping.
      – I’ll let you find the 4, 5, 6… depending on your usage. (send e-mails to your account, PDF document mgt, etc.)

      This is not only for blog-writing, but to keep references of anything you want.
      You can use it for free or get a premium account for increased bandwidth and functionnalities, but I didn’t feel the need so far.


      Edit: OK, it may not be that minimalistic…

      1. Hey, Cedric!

        To be honest, I also do 90% of my writing in Evernote. Separate notebooks there for “Web articles” (clippings from Internet), “Web pictures”, “My notes” (mostly from books, but also from great videos), “My thoughts”, “My life”, etc. And lots, lots of tags 🙂 But it’s more of a long-term knowledge base for me than the editor itself. And yes, it’s not so minimalistic, unless you open one note full-screen.

        What I like about apps like OmmWriter is that they make you feel like your computer is nothing more than a typewriter. And, we all know, one cannot check twitter with a typewriter 🙂

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