Power tools for Power Users – a better text editor for your Slowly letters? Adding Word Count and other functions, full screen and No Distraction modes? Plus spell checking, emoji support, and free of cost. Maybe a better alternative to the limited editor in the Slowly Web client?
This started out as a reply to a user comment in another topic - and evolved into a longer post, with both my suggestions to them, as well as notes on my impressions of a new Text editor tool I just went looking for. ( when the Reddit post editor closed on me and lost the almost complete, 400 words or so response I had composed. ARGH...)
It also explains that we can use a nice community to find new pen pal friends — at the Reddit Slowlyapp sub. And even how to use its 'Chat' function to send full blown letters, instantly, when desired.
The original reply follows :
To be honest, that and a couple of other lazy replies have slowly begun to turn me off to writing to people. I seem to keep getting the same types too, except for one or two people maybe. As a writer it's made me feel my efforts are best directed elsewhere.
Thank you for posting here and sharing your suggestions and experience. I do hope you meet some nice people to keep you interested in the Slowly environment.
There are good people, as we can see from the comments people post and the fan-hood which has built up around the app — even with minimal support from the developer's team.
Things do change, and everyone's experiences are different; I keep an eye out and see the newer users telling about recent experiences, sometimes pretty discouraging. 🤔
Don't despair, it's part of the package, we got to enjoy the good moments when they happen and remember then later while we plug away at less interesting times.
How to find good people to write to?
A suggestion of a possible way to find interesting pen pals is to keep an eye on the topics here, and engage in comments too. I have various penpals currently who I have met that way, initially via comments and replies in various topics, at some point evolving into Reddit Chat messages, and in some cases a pen pal friendship.
Interesting too that we have two channels sometimes – slowly letters are the preferred channel, it's a lovely writing environment, all messages are in one location, easy to find and indexed by time and date. Plus they can have the added cool stamps and sometimes photos and image attachments if we have that enabled.
Pre-formatted text, paste and send via Chat
The second channel is here, via the 'Chat' facility. Besides allowing the quick messaging in sequential form it was intended to support, Chat is wonderful in respecting and preserving the layout if you write a message or letter in another editor, and copy/paste it in. Blank lines are intact, paragraphs look perfect – which does NOT happen with the Reddit 'Direct Messaging' tool. (that one is dreadful – collapsing all blank lines and paragraphs into a wall of text. AVOID)
A good Text Editor is an Essential Tool
I am writing this in a new text editor (FocusWriter) I am trying out, and really enjoying it. 🙂😎
The Reddit Chat being friendly with pre-formatted text, it can become a channel to send full letters — which can get immediate delivery, whenever the user is logged into Reddit again.
This has been wonderful in various occasions, specially when something requires a faster reply than Slowly allows. We lose the chance of image attachments (can be done via an URL pasting, but not the same as a nice illustration at the end of a letter). But otherwise, it works very well.
I remember one time when we had a sequence of 3 or 4 letters sent that way, in quick succession. And later I copied all of those and sent in one package via a Slowly letter to preserve them for future reference (something all the IM messengers are not good at).
Things I am enjoying in FocusWriter so far?
Very nice and light editor. Comes with various Themes pre-configured, and you can also edit them or create your own.
No distractions. Simple, option of which tools to show in toolbar (which is hidden by default).
Spell check built in. Accepts emoji, unlike my older text editor. And crucially, a Word Count function is built in — and shows whenever you want to see it.
Bottom left corner, mouse over and it displays a bottom status bar with Word Count, current time, a percentage of your daily writing goal (if you select to have one). And the file names of currently open documents.
Using a simple Word Count option without changing editor?
Ah yes a word count would be useful.
We can use the wonderful WordCounter.net site in the mean time.
Just copy all the text, paste it into the site in a second tab, and it shows you a word count plus other interesting info too. VERY useful. 😎👍
Other free Editors to consider?
I found an excellent page with detailed listings of many nice ones for Windows nd Linux systems. I wanted to share a recommendation of a nice editor with the friends here, and searched for one which was simple and free, plus not overwhelming with too many features and functions. Which FocusWriter seems to fit perfectly.
I enjoy the Word Count and many other features in another tool here, called MarkText Editor — which I use for MarkDown formatted posts, like the ones for my blog. I even wrote a whole page about it..
For general writing and simple needs, I find FocusWriter could be a valuable tool to consider.
You simply write your Slowly letter replies on it, and when done (knowing the word count anytime you need to), you can copy and paste it into the Slowly editor, save a draft or send.
Famous Last Words
Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.
Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.
Come and join us, if you are not yet using Slowly.
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