Tools and Writing

Creating content is a thing I’ve been interested in for awhile. Whether its starting a story or writing a journal or creating notes about my upcoming changes. Writing is both a creative thing and a relief thing for me. I standardized on the Apple tools including my MacBook and iPhone 7 plus because I wanted a consistent interface and tool that would hold all my writing. Instead of multiple environments, I find it easier to use one tool which I can adopt and adapt to for creation.

I went through a selection process before and evaluated a variety of tools and ended up with Ulysses on the Mac and IOS. Prior to me joining the fold, Ulysses changed from a classic model to subscription and there were a lot of people that left. Perhaps they went to something like Byword or another tool. I’ve tried Byword on the MacBook and while it has a very nice and pure writing environment, I’ve become spoiled on the organization that Ulysses provides. Byword is simply too freeform for me to create on. I want the library structure plus being able to theme the writing and editing panes the way I want. I also looked at how I can do a variety of writing and how well each tool handles it.

Simply put, Ulysses handles the type of writing I do better. My use case is spontaneous blogging, creation of a basic note in the Inbox with some ideas around a story, management of lists for traveling plus creating a complete folder based environment for places I am going. I also write rather freeform journals in basic text files. A year is one file with dates sprinkled throughout. I don’t want it searchable or indexable but I can search if I want. The journal is different than the blog in how I create content.

For the less structured needs, the ability to start a note or sheet using the Ulysses parlance and then split it off into a new one at my whim is very powerful stuff. Creating a list and moving it to iCloud and then being able to further edit on my iPhone creates a workflow I really like.

Traveling with the workflow

This is an area I am interested in exploring more. My idea is to start a basic set of information as a note in a folder I have created for 2018 Travel. The note may become a blog post or it may live in the travel folder I created. There are actions to be taken as I drill down the number of days until leaving. I want to journal and blog the trip I take but not let both rule my movements. As I have done before, I want to create the content and then select what blogging I will do.

When in Japan in about a month, I will visit three cities. The thing that ties it all together is the wonderful Shinkansen movements between them. I want a central place with the travel information so if I wonder where and when, Ulysses can tell me.

Past that, I have created travel folders for Vietnam and populated that with the travel information for my flight and train trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Some will become a blog post and others will live out time as a reference. Images and notes are also supported so I can capture the railroad ticket information by printing to PDF and attaching.

Taking it all to the Next Step

The next step is to create the stories and content for that writing. That can be explosive and subjective and full of malformed paragraphs and sentences. Its the ebb and flow of a process I use to create longer form information. None of it is suitable to share but one day my dream is to publish them on the blog as static content files. I don’t know how WordPress will deal with this. I do know from the creation point forward, its Ulysses for me.

Perhaps you have a different need on creation of stuff. I am still looking at tools but I love the interface and use of Ulysses to catalog, track, and create content. It gets out of the way when it needs to but gives me the structure I want for things that are more uniform.

There are rules for writing for me. One is some things have no rules and the tool must support that as well.