I have long want a beautiful, full-screen essay writing program on osx, but somehow never got around to digiging it up. I know Writeroom exists and even bought it for iOS at some point, but I never ended up using it. Today I looked around again – and as I have been using a lot more Markdown at work, I decided I'd like some catering for that too.

It turns out Byword fits the description snugly. It comes with some minimal preferences, a dark and a light theme, no bloat, and when your needs are more specific than the preferences afford, you can still escape-hatch through defaults write to get things like a line width of exactly 80 characters, monospace by setting your font to Menlo 18pt and issuing the command:

defaults write com.metaclassy.byword BywordTextWidthCurrent 800

in a shell and restarting it. If, like me, you find you are happier with a solid than blinking caret, there's are Stack Exchange solutions for that too, for various versions of osx; here's the one that sufficed for my current 10.8.5 machine, setting the blink period to upwards of 32 millennia:

write -g NSTextInsertionPointBlinkPeriod -float 999999999999