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Interview With The Creator Of Joe Rogan’s Preferred Writing App, WriteRoom

Interview With The Creator Of Joe Rogan’s Preferred Writing App, WriteRoom

by Justin OConnellOctober 16, 2015

I started using WriteRoom after I heard Joe Rogan mention the software on his podcast, The Joe Rogan experience. The comedian says he uses the software for his comedy writing sessions he strives to do daily. The software’s purpose is to serve as a no thrills text editor that offers a plain full-screen mode thus blocking out all the distractions. Whether it’s cat memes, fear porn or debates in comment sections, Jesse Grosjean, creator of the software and founder of Hogbay Software, wants to help you be more productive.

The idea behind WriteRoom posits that with fewer visible options on screen, concentration on the writing process increases. As PC Mag stated, “WriteRoom makes concentrating easier than any other app I’ve tried.”

When I use WriteRoom, my ideas are better, I can flush them out in my very own mind tunnel (of course with some music playing, perhaps Gorillaz or The Clash). The endless distractions to every corner of the imagination provided by the Internet no longer exist. Alongside a version for Mac, an iOS version is also available.

In the full-screen version, the only available graphics other than your text is the word count. Customizations are available, and there is even spell-checking, grammar-correcting and autocorrect. WriteRoom offers numerous Themes to change the appearance of the screen. It appears Mr. Rogan likes a green text on black background. I tend to use a black background with white text.

WriteRoom creates plain text files in standard .TXT format. To italicize, bold, create headlines, and so on, I open the document in Google Documents or Word and format. The company recently updated FoldingText. As Jesse wrote on the company blog:

It’s a free update to all existing users. FoldingText 2.1 comes with a lot of bug fixes and improvements.


  • A Calculator Mode: Now you can perform math calculations right within Foldingtext. See Help > Calc Mode Guide.
  • A Stopwatch Mode: Run timers from within FoldingText to track time. Useful for keeping track of your time while writing. See Help > Stopwatch Mode Guide.
  • Auto pairing brackets, multiple cursors, customizable notification sounds and much more.


I spoke with Jesse about WriteRoom and his other software, FoldingText. I ask him about Joe Rogan’s mention of WriteRoom and the effect it had on Hogbay Software and other things.

So, I heard about your software from Joe Rogan. Did you know he mentioned it on his podcast one time? Did that affect sales to a noticeable degree? Are there other well-known writers using your software?

JG: This was a number of years ago. I didn’t hear the podcast, but I had quite a few people tell me about it. I’m sure it affected sales positively, but I’m not really sure by how much. For better or worse, I spend most of my time messing with software, and not much tracking sales.

I’m not sure who’s using WriteRoom. Truth is I have a hard time remembering the names of people that I see every week in my men’s league soccer. Remembering who is using WriteRoom is out of the realm of possibility for me. I would hope at least a few famous people have used it, and I guess Joe Rogan’s one example.

How is your soccer team doing?
JG: Heh, good! We often win the league in in fact! But, it’s a mens over 30, small sided, 5v5 including keepers, indoor on astroturf, with only 5 team’s in the league. So maybe not the level of competition that’s generally described when someone claims to play on a winning team…


Why might writers enjoy FoldingText? What sorts of features does it have beyond WriteRoom?

JG: FoldingText isn’t really meant to replace WriteRoom. With that said if you are writing using Markdown syntax, then I think you would prefer FoldingText since one of the big things that it does is highlight Markdown syntax.

Have you heard of the early text editor, GrandView? Did that serve as an inspiration at all?

JG: Depends on which GrandView.I’m really interested in outliners and GrandView was in the first wave of PC outliners way back in DOS days, I think. That software is a bit before my time, and I never used it, but I have read about it and other old outliners such as ThinkTank and others.

Any plans for the future?

JG: Right now I’m working on an update to TaskPaper.

What is TaskPaper’s strength?

JG: TaskPaper is for managing to-do lists in a plain text file. It’s related to FoldingText (FoldingText was created by wondering what would happen if I took the ideas in TaskPaper and turned them up to 11), but less ambitious and simpler. I’ve been deep into FoldingText for a number of years, and now it’s TaskPaper’s turn for an update.

Tell us a bit about recent updates to FoldingText in version 2.1, if you don’t mind.

JG: I think calculator mode is the neatest new feature. It allows you to do math, and see live results, in your text file.

FoldingText is definitely the coolest piece of software that I’ve worked on, but it’s also quite geeky and not easy to sell. Much easier to sell simpler more focused apps like WriteRoom and TaskPaper. Going forward Mutahhir [], who also worked with me to create FoldingText, is going to work on it with an eye toward bug fixes and maintaining it into the future.

Thanks for chatting with, Jesse.

JG: My pleasure and thank you!

Images from Shutterstock and the Writeroom software.

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