I miss occasionally writing personal tech reviews and essays, so I’m going to do more of them. And because professional publication still has advantages over self-publishing on social media — aside from getting paid — I’m looking to get this writing published professionally.
This is my first effort — a review of the writing pad Ulysses. I’ve done most of my writing in Ulysses for the past two months. The developers, The Soulmen, updated the app this week with a new Mac version and its first iPad version. Here’s what I think:
The article appears on Six Colors, a new Mac site edited by Jason Snell. I’ve been a fan of Jason’s work since soon after I started using the Mac in 2007, and am pleased to see him doing this new thing after his departure from Macworld. And now I’m pleased to be involved in it, even if my involvement is only a one-off. Which I hope it won’t be.
Light Reading is still where I do most of my work, and this freelancing is done with their blessing. I don’t plan to do great volumes of it — one thing I learned when I tried to do a lot of personal tech writing a few years ago is that I don’t have a lot to say. And I only want to write when I have something to say.
And now here’s my review of Ulysses:
The father in Stephen King’s Cujo runs a small ad agency. He creates an ad for skin-diving gear featuring the photo of a tough guy and the phrase “MISTER, I DIVE FOR A LIVING, I DON’T MESS AROUND.”
When I read about Mac writing apps with “beautifully minimal” designs, or an app that is “your own private writing room,” I roll my eyes.
Mister, I write for a living. I don’t mess around.
Until recently, I’ve been dissatisfied by every writing app I’ve tried for the Mac. Some are too complicated (Word, Scrivener, BBEdit). Others are too simple — they don’t do enough (Byword, TextWrangler, etc.).
I was intrigued by Ulysses III, by The Soulmen, when it came out in 2013, and I gave it a try right away. But it just seemed too weird to me — too different from other writing apps that I was used to.
However, when I heard in December that Ulysses was coming out with an iPad version, I gave it another try. I do a significant amount of writing on the iPad, and I liked the idea of using the same app and accessing the same document store in both places.
And this time I was hooked. I’ve been using Ulysses as my primary writing software since then, for all my important writing and much of the extemporanea I toss off on social media too.