Software for Writers, part one

I’ll probably write a few posts on this sort of stuff. There are so many tools out there availible for a writer (or any artist for that matter) it is hard to know what to pick. Most of my posts will be about free software. Why? Well, as a starting writer, free is a good thing.

The idea being that your creativity shouldn’t be hindered by your wallet. Perhaps you won’t have that sound studio, or that top of the line movie editing deck, but you can get tools that well get you there.

So let’s start with some basics.

You need a word processor. For a writer, this is a part of your creative process. For an artist in general there are countless reasons why you’ll need to sit in front of that blinking cursor, from resumes to reviews. There are two great choices out there that are both open source, and free.

AbiWord (

Simple. Light. Easy to use, but still powerful. AbiWord is just a word processor, but it does its job efficiently. Most of the tools you will need are here. (

This is a monolith. is a competitor for Microsoft Office. It has a word processor, a spreadsheet app, presentation, even web and database tools. There are forums everywhere to help with the program.Templates, tutorials, all availble online. If you are thinking of buying an Office Suite, try this one first (it’s free!) and see what you think.

Both of these programs can save in either MS Word formats (.DOC) or in Open Document Format. The advantage of ODF is that it is an open standard, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to open them down the road. The disadvantage is that Word can’t open them natively, so you may have to convert to DOC or RTF before sending them out to friends or editors.

Are these the only two options? Not a chance. There are lots of open source word processors, and some closed source, but free ones, like Google Docs, for instance.

That’s a start, there will be more as we go along.