Tag Archives: iPad

Ulysses Writing Apps: Easy Writing On Your Mac and iPad

Writing Apps: Ulysses on Your Mac and iPad

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… :-))

What’s Ulysses?

The Ulysses editor, preview and palettes
The Ulysses editor, preview and palettes

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.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Write A Book On Your iPad

Write A Book On Your iPad

You want to write a book. Can you do it on your iPad? I heard that one writer wrote a bestseller on her phone, but nevertheless my reaction to writing an entire book on an iPad would be: heck, no!

That said, I do spend a lot of time writing in Evernote on my phone and iPad, so I may need to rethink that attitude. Maybe you could write a book in Evernote. Here’s an example of someone who did that:

”For author and chief Business Insider correspondent Nicholas Carlson, Evernote was the primary tool he used to write a 93,000 word book. In six weeks.”

Uh huh. (Confession: the thought of writing an entire book in Evernote makes me cringe. I’ve been a Scrivener fan since the app hatched, and have no wish to change. I’m comfortable in Scrivener.)

Unfortunately, Scrivener hasn’t come out with their iPad app yet. Ulysses has.

Ulysses for iPad can help you write your book

I love Ulysses for Mac, especially their new update, and Ulysses is now an iPad app.

Bestselling author David Hewson loves the iPad app:

“I’ve never been a great fan of typing on the iPad but Ulysses has changed my opinion. This is very good for writing thanks to an extended keyboard. The best way to learn what this does is to play with it. First, get used to the very handy way it offers for moving through text. Just swipe right and left in the space bar and the cursor moves through your words. This is much easier than trying to click on the screen. There’s a configurable word count on the left followed by shortcuts above the letter keys for adding markup and common punctuation.”

I’m not a fan of typing on the iPad either, but if David says it works, I may need to try it.

What about you? Could you write a book on an iPad?

Are you taking advantage of the boom in short fiction?

According to Samuel Johnson, “no one but a blockhead wrote except for money”, and if you’re looking for a way to boost your fiction income, consider writing SHORT fiction.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

How to Write Your Novel on Your iPad

Fiction Frenzy

Sooner or later, you’ll get an iPad. I bought my first iPad a couple of years ago as a reading device, and so I could write when I was out of the office. My iPad fits into my bag easily; I’m never without it.

Oddly enough, I’ve found that I use my iPad to write IN my office. I always have the outline of my current novel Work in Progress (WIP) on the iPad screen. It’s propped next to my oversized monitor. When I get an idea, or a bit of dialogue pops into my mind, I tap it into Drafts, then carry on with whatever I was doing.

So in honor of NaNoWriMo, which starts tomorrow, here are the apps I use to write novels on the iPad.


Open, type, and send. Jotting quick notes couldn’t be easier. You can capture a thought or idea in an instant, or you can write longer pieces. It’s a very comfortable, easy writing environment.


I use OmniOutliner on my Mac, so using it on the iPad is a no-brainer. I’ve always got it open on my desk. It’s another comfortable app; completely transparent in use. You can even add attachments.


You can use Evernote on your computer, and on many devices. On my iPad, I use it to check research notes. I also send snippets from Drafts to Evernote, so that I can add them to my novel’s Scrivener file.

Index Card

I keep backstory, character arcs, and setting details in Index Card.


iThoughtsHD is a clever mind mapping app which will import mind maps from many popular applications. I use it to noodle through plot details, and “what ifs”.

I also use it to run through scenes before I write them. I see a movie of the scene playing out in my imagination, then I mind map the scene. Using mind maps for this makes “seeing” the scene easier, probably because your right brain is visual, rather than logical.

So, there you have it. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, check out the above apps — and good luck throughout November. Happy writing. 🙂