Software for Writers: q10
q10 is a minimalist, full-screen text editor with several special features for writers. When you run it, it takes up the whole screen (including the space usually reserved for the start bar), allowing you to focus only on your writing.
q10 keeps a running word, character, and page count in the lower left-hand corner. A built-in timer allows you to decide how long you want to work. It also has a pop-up window for keeping notes while you work (which you access by hitting ctrl-h — everything in q10 is done with ctrl-keystroke shortcuts, which are listed in a cheat-sheet you access by pressing F1).
The appearance of the application is highly customizable, allowing you to select background and font color, typeface, paragraph styles, and autosave intervals. In the full screenshot, you’ll see that I made the text dark brown on a light brown background, and set the type size quite large — soothing colors and large text for my old, tired eyes. Q10 is also portable, meaning you can run it from a flash drive so you can use it from virtually any Windows PC.
On the downside, the optional spellcheck doesn’t seem to work for me. There is a text expand function, that ostensibly allows you to create text shortcuts that will automatically expand into commonly used words, phrases, or full blocks of boilerplate text, but I couldn’t figure out how it works. Neither the program nor the website offers much in the way of support — you “gets what you pays fer”!
A bigger problem (for me, anyway) is that because it’s a text editor, q10 offers no options for formatting your text — which means no bold, italic, double-indenting, etc. That’s a bit of a deal-breaker for me, but I know many writers like to focus on letting the words flow and adding formatting in a later draft; for them, q10 is perfect, minimizing distractions and letting you focus on just writing.
Oh, and one other thing: q10 has a built-in typewriter sound effect, that you’d think would be quite annoying, but it’s actually kind of invigorating, like being in the newsroom with Woodward and Bernstein or something. All in all, a cool if slightly flawed program.