I adore playing with writing apps. Although I say “playing”, trying out apps is serious business. If I can find an app which makes any part of the writing process easier, and/ or saves time, it’s well worth the investment.
As you may know, I’m a Scrivener aficionado. I’ve been using it for a decade, and love it. However, I primarily use Scrivener for long-form content. Although bloggers use it, I’ve never found it appealing for writing blog posts, or for any short content.
There’s a problem with Scrivener too. It’s a struggle to switch machines and continue working on a project. Ideally, you’d be able to stop work on your desktop machine, then carry on working on your iPad. Yosemite’s provided Macs with Handoff, so you can keep working on a document across your machines.
Today, the writing life means using the cloud
Today, cloud computing is essential. That is — your files need to live somewhere other than just on your computer, because we spend a lot of time away from our primary working machines. Indeed, some writers write entirely on their phone, or tablet.
Several of my writing students tell me that they write solely on their iPad. Their desktop machines are old, or they don’t have a desktop computer at all.
Since the Ulysses app’s latest update, I find myself doing much more writing in Ulysses. Client projects, ideas for books, blog posts, email messages, Web pages, reports… everything lives in the Ulysses’ library. And that library lives in the cloud. That means that I don’t need to worry about switching desktop machines. I can even work on my iPad, with Ulysses for iPad.
Wherever I go, I can work on whatever I was working on before I left my office. Not only does that save time, because I can use any spare moment I have to write, it’s freeing. I don’t have to make notes to myself in Evernote for projects; I can work on a project directly, in a client’s office, in a cafe, or even in my car.
There’s another huge benefit: transparent backups. Of course, you still need backups, but the cloud provides a measure of security that you won’t lose documents you’ve slaved over for days and months, should a backup fail. (And they do. Don’t ask… :-))
Ulysses is a Markdown text editor, which stores all your documents in a library. You write in plain text, with Markdown markup, and your documents are synced across all your computers, and your iPad too.
In the image above, you can see the Ulysses text editing window, the document preview in HTML, and two palettes: document information (word count etc), and document navigation.
I’ve written about Ulysses a couple of times on my freelance writing blog. However, for all the gen on Ulysses, you’ll want to read bestselling author David Hewson; he’s written about Ulysses at length.
I bought David’s excellent ebook on Ulysses; it’s packed with useful tips. He’s also got a slew of must-read blog posts on the app. Until I read David’s book, I was pleased with Ulysses, but wasn’t aware of its full power. It packs an amazing amount into a small app.
Who’s Ulysses for?
Anyone who writes a lot, and likes to keep their documents accessible across machines. There’s a free trial, so check it out. It may become your favorite tool, as it’s fast becoming mine.
If you struggle with writing…
Try the writing methods I’ve developed in over 30 years of writing. The Easy-Write Process will end your struggles. It makes writing a joy, rather than a chore.
How to profit from your writing: online store.