You’re a writer. A working one. Sure, you’re no James Patterson or what-not, but you’ve been writing paid jobs everyday for the past few months. And it’s all good. You’re at the point, in fact, when you’re considering chucking out your old computer and getting a new one — preferably, one that can aid you better in your writing efforts.
And, after doing a bit of research, you decide there’s just no way a Linux build is for you, so you’re either up for a Windows PC or a Mac computer. Which one will serve your writing needs best?
Word Processors For Writers
While all writers will have their own preferences when it comes to word processing software, I have used both Macs and PCs, with one title on each platform standing out for me. For PCs, it has to be OneNote — the feature set for research and writing are too rich to ignore. For Macs, it’s Scrivener, a robust word processor with a sophisticated management system for documents and metadata.
I suggest trying out both and seeing which one supports your style better. Note: A starter version of Scrivener is also available for PCs. It’s not as feature-rich as the Mac version, but it gives you a good idea of what the program can do.
For bundled software (i.e. applications that come free with the machine), the Mac wins hands-down with Text Edit. Windows’ WordPad is decent, but it is lacking in a lot of features. TextEdit, on the other hand, brings a full grammar checker, dictionary lookup, document summary tool, table support and more. Given that you’ll likely invest in a better word processor though (since writing is your job), this point may be moot.
Macs are the definite destination for electronic musicians, photographers and videographers — they are built precisely to support the kind of work these people do. Plus, the software offering in these areas are particularly rich.
For writers, on the other hand, PCs may have a slight edge. With so many developers publishing specialized writing tools on the platform, there’s really a large pool for you to draw from. There are a lot of tools available for the Mac, too, but the indie scene in the PC market remains a richer source.
Getting Stuff Done
Of course, being a working writer entails more than sitting in front of a computer, writing all day. They need to monitor their productivity, manage their projects, network with other writers and all that, too. You can do all those from a PC just as well as a Mac, so it shouldn’t factor in your choice.
In terms of usability, though, I’d have to tip the proverbial hat to the Mac. OS X is just an overall easier platform to work on than Windows, with plenty of little details that make working faster. Plus, there are less viruses and malware to deal with, so you save time and money on all those extra security programs.