Workflow & Writing: Ulysses

Write. Anything. Anywhere.

My daily writing routines are improving and Ulysses has quickly become an everyday tool. The very effective slogan tells you why. One still needs to actually write but this is by far the best integration across all my devices and I imagine many of you will be interested in checking it out (if you use Apple products).

I have written about workflow for photography and writing for some years and I am not really experimenting much anymore being happy with how quickly I can edit a photo and post it to my blog or a handful of social media sites. Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed and Flickr are essentials.

Workflow is such an important concept and being able to just pick up and continue, or start, in any context is important when one has an idea or wants to complete something. I want to concentrate on the photo or the writing, not the tools. I also want to be very mobile.

However, Scrivener proved to be less than I hoped for as a writing tool. The support and ethos of the company is great and it has every feature that even the most eclectic, cross-platform writer could need. Scrivener can do everything except what I needed and it just wasn’t working out anymore.

Scrivener has been a home to my blog posts, travel itineraries, journal articles, poetry, musings, diary entries, notes for non fiction and fiction for three years now. I remember when initially trialling the software being deeply impressed that their site linked to competitors so one could check out what other writing software was on offer. It spoke of confidence that Scrivener was better than just good; they listened to customers and were happy to improve the product. It certainly had the most attractive name.

If feeling unkind, one could liken Scrivener to a Frankenstein’s monster – with so many bits stitched on over the years – as it is clumsy and looks terrible. That is not the main issue though. It is the awkwardness of using Simplenote, in itself a great tool well before I had Scrivener, to integrate across the iOS ecosystem. The formatting does not hold, the system of passwords is annoying and basically, there are better tools out there nowadays.

Ulysses – which I had dabbled with a few years ago having discovered it via the Scrivener links page – recently released an iPhone app to accompany their Mac software and iPad tool. The clean look of the interface is very appealing, as is its general simplicity. There are all the features I need and if you are interested takes very little time to ‘get’ how to manage your writing across the three devices.

Ulysses for Mac, iPad and iPhone from The Soulmen on Vimeo.

Ulysses – and I am typing this now as using the iPad app – synchs to iCloud seamlessly. This is setup with one click of a button and there are no passwords to make saving draft pieces complex. It just works. One can write offline knowing all with synch next time the wifi is available and the minimal number of buttons, discreetly tucked away at the bottom of the screen, really works providing a clean sheet to write on.

If you are keen to know more, this webinar will get you up to speed very, very quickly.

Introduction to Ulysses: Webinar for NaNoWriMo 2015 from The Soulmen on Vimeo.

I never mastered all the intricacies of Scrivener as it had many features I just did not need. Ulysses is just right. The following links will help you make a start with Ulysses including these tutorials and other tips & tricks plus shortcuts.

All I need now is that promised WordPress plugin!

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 7.52.13 AM

Featured image: Ulysses logo

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2 Comments

  1. Wayne:

    I’m glad you found an app that works for you. These things are so individual I agree that it is so important to find the tool that matches your workflow and patterns of thought.

    I wish crossplatform was more of a thing. I tend to use an android tablet, a macbook laptop and my main machine runs Linux. So I am always looking for apps that work well across all environments.

  2. Ulysses is a great piece of software. The sync works perfectly and it is running on my macbook pro as good as on my iphone…
    Thanks for your review!

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