I am always looking for new writing apps to try and see if they can add to or improve my writing process. So over the past few weeks, I have been trying out the writing app Ulysses. This is an app specifically aimed at Apple user and sync seamlessly across all of your Apple Device.
Here are some thoughts on my experience with this writing app.
1. Clean Interface
One of the main things I have found is that the interface on Ulysses is clean. This is one of the main reasons writers choose to use this app for their writing; it provides a distraction-free area where you can write, and it’s a blank canvas.
You can choose to have the app in the Editor-only view when writing. This removes the navigation bar and editing assistant, giving you only the page.
Having a dedicated app is so beneficial when it comes to staying focused when writing, and the app has other features to help keep you focused, which I will cover later in this post.
2. Navigation bar
This is quite similar to Apple Notes, and it’s friendly and easy to set up and organise your writing. It is essentially broken down into three parts.
The Library shows you All your content and is not in your Projects, so here you can see what is not sorted, e.g. what’s in your inbox and is pending being moved to the relevant projects.
Projects are like folders and allow you to collect your sheets (Articles) in one place that are relevant. My projects are labelled Blog Posts and Research. Not an extensive list, but it’s enough for what I need.
Your inbox is where sheets that you created but not filled live. I haven’t used this extensively, but this is an excellent place to dump your ideas. I use Apple Notes to capture all my ideas, but this could also work.
3. Editing Assistant
This is my favourite thing about Ulysses. You have a dashboard/overview tab where you can see
It is helpful to see these at a glance to keep an eye on my primary word count or easily add an image or note.
The other tab on the Editor I like to use is the counter. I like this view as it gives you all the detail on how many words, characters, paragraphs etc. I mainly look at words as a blogger, but I imagine the other counts shown here would benefit the world’s novelists.
The other metrics on this tab is reading time; this is great for us bloggers. I like to keep my articles around the 5-minute read mark, which helps me to achieve that. You can also add goals to both, and it will display your goal at the top of the screen with the progress shown in a graphic.
Ulysses uses Markdown, so you don’t need to move your fingers from your keyboard. I am no expert on Markdown, but I have used it more over the past few months, and it has its benefits.
Learning the shortcuts took me a while, but it was easy once. Being able to insert, whether it’s a title or a subheading, quickly has helped speed up my writing. Many other useful markdowns include page breaks and emphasising a word or sentence.
5. Publishing & Exporting
Once you have completed your blog post, Ulysses can upload it directly to WordPress or Medium. This is an excellent feature for those of us that write a blog. You can also connect Ulysses to other platforms, such as Ghost.
This is a helpful feature as it speeds up transferring your post from your writing app to tool to your blogging platform(s). I will point out that it’s not 100% perfect. Whilst I can connect to Medium with no problems, I am still struggling with connecting my WordPress blog. I have spoken with other writers who have not had the same issues, so this could be a plugin conflict or a two-factor authentication issue.
You can also export from Ulysses to formats such as PDFs, HTML etc. This can be useful for creating guides or writing an e-book.
This is not a free app, although they give you a 14 days trial. This should be long enough for you to decide whether it’s worth the money to continue using it. I decided that it was for me.
The clean and straightforward interface makes writing enjoyable, and I find myself getting into a state of flow more than when I have used other Apps. Although it’s simple to use, it has plenty of features to support you with whatever type of writing you are embarking on.