Today I am testing out a new (to me) writing tool called Ulysses. The why behind this is that I am attempting my first draft of a non-fiction book and I have a lot of miscellaneous writing for it scattered in various places and want to corral it into one spot. Ulysses was an option that was mentioned in the writing class I started earlier this month, the class that is supposed to help me tame the wild beast of my ideas and harness them into something possibly publishable, possibly not which is what the critical voice inside my head is telling me.
There are three areas on this version of Ulysses I find appealing because I use all three to write: My Novel, My Blog and My Diary. For the past year my online diary, or journal as I prefer to call it, has been contained using the website 750words.com and it has worked well for me, especially these last three months as I have committed to daily writing. It keeps track of my word count, makes sure I stick around for at least 750 words, and encourages me with a visual clue to track my days in a row streak. It also gives me the ability to look at my writing analytically (which I rarely use anymore). It tells me if I’m happy, sad, optimistic, looking toward the future or stuck in the past. It tells me if I’ve stayed in PG level words or if I’ve strayed to R rated material (as if!), whether I am obsessed with death, money or food. Pretty cool, right?
But now that I am writing a book, this will no longer suffice because some days I am ready to start right in on the book before I begin my 750 words of journaling and I don’t want to have to dig through the site later to find material for the book. The other option that was mentioned in the writing class was Scrivener and I did try it once when I thought I’d make a try at fiction writing, only it seemed outsized for my purposes and I quickly gave up. At the time, it was more important for me to throw words down than to bother over what form they took or if I needed to outline plot or characters which was impossible for me anyway. No, I am primarily a non-fiction writer, there is no getting around it.
I will continue to test out Ulysses throughout the next two weeks of the free trial before I commit to the $49.99/year or $5.99/month options available. For reference, Scrivener is a flat $19.99 one time purchase. When I tried it previously it was on a desktop computer with a Windows operating system. The version available for the iPad (which I primarily write on) is not something I’ve tried and I don’t see a trial version to test out whether I’d like it or not.
What experience do you have with apps to help contain your writing?
On a side note, Ulysses integrates with WordPress nicely and a blog can be set to publish from within it. This is a bonus!