Daily Tedium

A Love Letter to Gingko

The world's most interesting word processor is made by just one guy working alone. If more people knew about it, it would be a game-changer. Let's fix that.

By Ernie Smith

When it comes to writing, I think that the biggest problem for a lot of people is properly organizing their ideas. There's just so much to put into a document, and without well-considered organization, it can get a little long, jumbled, and overly ranty. (Overly ranty is bad.)

But that doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't room to rethink the approach. Perhaps you shouldn't be writing in a totally linear format—perhaps you need to think in terms of a flow chart, one that is flexible to the whims of your prose.

I complain a lot about word processors. It's what I do! I've seen a lot of horrible ones over the years and I want do do everything I can to make those processors slightly less horrible.

So I think the best way to do that is to build appreciation for word tools that offer up a genuine way forward. I think one of the most important of those tools is Gingko. The product of Adriano Ferrari and his former collaborator Aleksey Kulikov, the app is fascinating for a number of reasons, including its general layout, which is based on a tree-style form of organization, and can be as simple or as complicated as you'd like. It takes confusing stuff and lays it all out in a way that's easy to follow. We need that!

The interface looks like no word processor you've ever seen before. There are three columns—the ones on the left represent primary information, while the ones on the right can drill down very deep. You can add infinite numbers of cards, and those cards can be organized any way you want. It's the rare tool that hides a deceptive amount of power under the hood—without even requiring you to use it!

For years I've admired what Gingko represented, without actually, y'know, using it. But I think that a word processor this interesting deserves my attention. So I'm going to start writing in it more, and I'm going to encourage others to do the same.

If you like writing words but struggle with organization, this is a Godsend of a tool. And Ferrari builds it by himself! That is such an insane shame. This tool is too fundamentally different from what's out there for it to deserve such a fate. It should be rewarded, not ignored.

So, here I am, telling you not to ignore it. If you're serious about your writing, you should get familiar with this tool, stat.

Could it change the world? Maybe. But it definitely could change the way you write.

Ernie Smith

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Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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