15

I’ve been writing and self-hosting images online for fifteen years now.

What I enjoy about blogging is the potential for infinite writing and posting.

With digital photography I can shoot and post an infinite amount of images.

The ability to host one’s own publishing house is nothing short of amazing.

IA Writer vs. Ulysses

So one of my favorite writing apps, Ulysses, is up for the annual subscription renewal. At $50 a year, it is one of the pricier apps and I am not keen to renew as a result. Yes, it organizes my novel writing workflow better than anything else. But is this enough?

Compare that to IA Writer- similar features and a one-time purchase. It does lack the organization tools but can I find a work around or a new workflow?

I’ll test this for a week, in fact, I am writing in IA Writer and publishing from the app to this website now.

 

Ulysses vs IA Writer- can you tell which one is better?
Yeah, yeah

Change My Mind

To change my own mind. I try to create a new vocabulary or terrain for myself, so that I open out — I always think of the Dutch claiming land from the sea — or open up something that would have been closed to me before. That’s the point and the pleasure of it. I continuously scrutinize my own thinking. I write something and think, How do I know that that’s true? If I wrote what I thought I knew from the outset, then I wouldn’t be learning anything new.”

Marilynne Robinson

When asked why she writes: “To change my own mind” is an excellent way to analyze and then describe something.

My Own Publishing House

Assembling the proper tools for creative writing has been a tiresome but crucial process And after all these years of experimenting with various programs and platforms I think I am there. I’ve been searching for ways to increase my productivity and also more efficient, organized. I wanted a means to self-publish quickly and from all my devices no matter where in the world I am at the time. With this setup, I can focus on the content and process as opposed to wondering if the tools I had would do the job. And I think I am there. Finally.

When I want to write for myself, I use this website, which is hosted by WordPress servers. The fact that you are reading this and following along with me is appreciated. When I want to expand and share thoughts on other topics, I will publish to Medium, a website that is designed to connect writers and readers alike.

Self-Publishing With

Ulysses

Before 2019 I was using either Windows or Linux operating systems and this meant my word processors were either Microsoft Word or Google Docs. These writing apps were focused on design and both very cumbersome. Sporadically the text was preserved with autosave, mostly not. No thanks. After migrating everything to the Apple ecosystem in 2019 I began to explore alternatives out there and found a few. The one application that kept coming up was Ulysses.

Ulysses has a minimalist interface and stores your text in iCloud, instantly retrievable on all my Apple devices. I am currently writing this using Ulysses on my new M1 MacBook Pro and the experience is an amazingly refreshing breath of fresh air. Another benefit of Ulysses is the capability to push the Publish button and have my words posted immediately to my website and Medium.

Minimal but brilliant

WordPress

Prior to Ulysses, I would be forced to cut/paste my text from the word processor into the file transfer protocol, upload to my web server and hope the text formatting was screwed up once it arrived, ready for me to publish.

Exporting my text through Ulysses is amazingly effective and one of the best this author has experienced. Every word, link, category, tag, and image is right there as intended.

Medium

The same efficiency of self-publishing from Ulysses to my website is there again when publishing from Ulysses to Medium. There are some minor tweaks that I’ll go back in and correct, but it is still more efficient than the past experiences.

This is the final step in the self-publishing process and again, Ulysses comes through brilliantly. As brilliant as it is, some people may balk at the cost, others may find the price to be reasonable but at $40 annually it has been worth the chance for me to write on my phone, tablet, or laptop flawlessly.

Honorable Mentions

iA Writer

Scrivener

Ugh. How is this a favorite of some writers? Too bulky and right out of the early 2000’s

The Benefits Of Writing

Write to connect with the similar people

Write to create opportunities

Write to define your goals

Write to meditate

Write to think better

Write to teach and clarify

Write to deepen your focus

Write to understand yourself

Curate To Create

If you are like me, hoarding content for future use, it can give off a false sense of knowledge. In my experience, the best way to understand something is to create or produce my content in my style and then share it with the world. I’ve accomplished this throughout the years here and through my photography. I’m still working up the nerve to share my creative writing, however.

To close the loop from curator to creator I go from collecting my notes, snippets from the web and personal thoughts to connecting ideas and application of these ideas. Only then do I find I am ready to create and share.

It’s Time To Write

Every November for the past few years there comes inspiration from an organization called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words that month in hopes of cranking out a novel. I’m good for about two days out of the month. Last year I switched gears and penned an article a day for this website instead.

A few of the reasons why I haven’t progressed past a second day is because there was a lack of a plan or focus to build this writing habit that I want to see changed this year.

Place- This year I have a dedicated writing space. Since adapting to a quarantined work from home environment I now have two desks, one for work and one dedicated to personal production. For work, my environment is organized, streamlined and ready to do the work for maximum productivity. For personal use, I tend to be more relaxed and dis-organized. But not this year. This year is set up for the potential of maximum creativity. This dedicated desk is both my photo studio and writing space.

Time- In the past, I would decide to get around to doing whenever I had the time or energy. This year I plan on getting back to a consistent schedule, which has been lacking, again, due to quarantine. The 30-step commute makes it easier to roll out of bed later than I would if I had to travel to the office.

Dedicating a minimum of 15 minutes to writing in the morning before I start my 7am work day will be beneficial I think. Also, a minimum of one hour a night to crank out some words will help too. I don’t use the dedicated calendar journal or apps to block out these times, but I will.

Plan- At work, I am a planner. For creativity, I seem to rely on being a pantser, meaning, “fly by the seat of my pants.” Not this time around. Plot developments, character development, story arcs etc are all scheduled for dedicated focus, research and yes, eventually writing.

In addition, a dedicated morning routine such as clean up, exercise, good food and some hot green tea with the same ambient music playing in the background will tell my unfocused brain that hey, this is your current focus, do the work.

I don’t like the concept of accountability but it may help, I don’t know. My personality has a difficult time with this concept. If I can’t hold myself accountable, why should I report or check-in with someone else? How many people would I disappoint including myself? I struggle with this but do plan on updating this site with progress notes.

All of this is to say that by doing one or more of these things is going to help me progress in ways I have not been able to do in the past- to help achieve my writing goals and deliver a better writing habit.

Second Brain

Graph View of my Second Brain
Graph View of my Second Brain

A few months ago I stumbled upon the terms “bi-directional links”, “back links”, and “networked thought.” All designed to enhance research and note-taking.

Since then I’ve installed two new productivity apps to help with my research. More later as I do a deep dive into these.

[[productivity]]