Using Ulysses to Reignite My Writing

I've been struggling with my re-write / edit of a novel length project.It's been very difficult for me to grab any sizable amount of time to work on the project. Well, that's not entirely accurate. The time is there, but finding a chunk of time when I'm also motivated and in a writing mood has proven challenging.

Part of the challenge is portability. I want to work on chunks of the project when I leave the office for a lunch break, or when I'm traveling and have some time in the evening at the hotel. Like I said,the times are there, but the motivation hasn't been.

The lack of motivation is partly due to momentum. I finished the first draft quite some time ago, and I've taken stabs at a revision, but I haven't been consistent or productive. Now I'm staring at a large mess of files and printed pages...clutter. I have stuff all over the place and don't know where to start.

And every time I open the Scrivener app, I shudder. I just don't know where to start.

I've heard a couple of different podcast authors talk about Ulysses recently. I remember looking at Ulysses years ago, but now folks are talking about a new design, and an iPad version.

Ok - that's a big deal. Being able to grab my iPad and head to the park or coffee shop is a writing experience I enjoy. I know I can do the same with my laptop, but I work on my laptop all day. Sitting down with the laptop feels too much like work. Not that writing isn't also work...I guess I should say work work :-)

And I know what you are thinking. Fiddling with new software isn't working at writing either.

Very true. I couldn't agree more. but trying out the new version of Ulysses, the iPad version and the iCloud sync, has given me new motivation to clean up the mess that is my current "Work in Progress."

It's very easy to use. Like any good application, with good usability, Ulysses is easy to jump into and get started right away.

The application installs with a set of introduction documents (or Sheets in Ulysses speak), that get you started.

The layout is very clean and easy to navigate. I love that the application experience can be driven with keyboard shortcuts. I don't like wasting time fiddling with the mouse/track pad when all I want to do is open a new document (create a new sheet), or move something.

I'm also please that Ulysses understands and supports markdown. As I've talked about before, I don't work in a desktop publishing app like Word, because I'm not concerned with formatting of the printed document. I am, at this stage anyway, concerned about the words. So I prefer to work with text files and often write or add any formatting I need using markdown syntax.

The usability, and the iPad version, are key. I feel more in control of the writing experience here than I have trying to deal with individual text files or a large Scrivener project.

My guess is I'll finish my revisions here in Ulysses, then move the manuscript to Scrivener for final tweaking and export. But that's just a guess at this point.

Why do I default to text files and markdown? Because I can boil it all down to the words. If I have formatting and desktop publishing options, I'll fiddle with those settings rather than writing.

And it's not just that, I don't like most 'word processing' apps. MSWord, for example, is a royal pain in the butt when it comes to outlines or list numbering.

Ulysses is worth a second look. If you tried it back in the day, this new generation of Ulysses is really interesting.


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