lately, i’ve been doing a lot of writing for work. test plans, paper outlines, summaries, etc. i don’t know what the deal has been but it’s been a notable shift in prose generation. despite the fact that my co-workers seem to do everything in MSFT word, i have a strong need to do at least the first cut in emacs. here are a few things that have made me most productive on the prose generation front.

  • org-mode - if you haven’t heard about this, well, get out from underneath your rock. this is where i do 90+% of my outlining and meeting note capture. C-c c is the catchall for things which require more verbiage than one can capture with the omnifocus pop-up. if i need to start grabbing shit freestyle, this is where i go. it’s a dessert topping, floor wax and an organizer all wrapped up in one. did i mention that there’s a handy twiki export mode as well? oh, and the latest version includes support for opendocument text format export.
  • ns-toggle-fullscreen - this is a patch to emacs for OS X. if you build from the ports collection you simply need to include the +fullscreen variant and you’re golden. this removes all the chrome from emacs (which should be turned off for the most part anyway) and forces emacs to take up the entire screen. it’s incredibly useful. you have the ability to split the display, etc. but you’re doing it over all of you display. bigass router configs and code can line up side by side and you’re not going to have email, etc. getting in the way.
  • darkroom-mode - while ns-toggle-fullscreen gets you about 90% there for a distraction free environment, it’s nice to have large margins on the side of the screen to focus the display right in the middle. darkroom-mode emulates the popular writeroom, scrivener and other applications focused on minimizing distraction. but it gives you all of the power of emacs. very nice. you don’t have to retrain your fingers only to pull it back into emacs to do the cleanup and organization anyways.
  • solarized theme - when i’m not in full screen writing mode, this theme is incredibly easy on the eyes. i’ve basically embraced this across the board for X11, term, iterm, vim, emacs, etc. the dude who assembled this, did his homework. folks have ported this theme to pretty much everything, it’s worth adding the git repo to your collection of stuff to keep track of.