My Newest Tool for Blogging with Intention
There’s this huge problem out there in the world of blogging, and if you have been at it for a while, you probably have a running list of issues - but we will cover one of them today.
Organizing Your Ideas
It’s a problem right? Maybe you have a blog where you write about multiple different topics, or have a couple of different series that you use from time to time? Maybe there’s a method to your madness, a template that you follow to create a flow? How do you organize these?
In the past I had spent lots of time organizing notebooks and folders in a few different writing/note taking apps. Namely Evernote and OneNote. These two guys work in a pretty similar way. You have multiple notebooks where you can add in your content. Within the app, you have relatively pretty clunky interface. Not that it is BAD, just not preferable for writing.
In the MacApp store lately I have been starting to see some interesting writing apps, and I have to say, I went through all of them, even downloaded the free version of quite a few. Many of them have a lot of what I was looking for but, just wasn’t “it”. After an afternoon perusing and thinking through my issues, I came up with a list of what I wanted.
The features I wanted in a Blogging/Writing App
Simple and Beautiful Interface
Organizational Capacity that was Multi-Faceted (not just categories/tags).
The ability to change the “status” of the files from draft to published.
The ability to backup and potentially be stored info on the cloud for Virtual Assistant Use or future export to another platform.
Not too expensive or a one-time expense.
Doesn’t need to publish to web (since Squarespace notoriously doesn’t work with anyone very well).
Doesn’t need to have bells and whistles specific for blogging.
Doesn’t need to have a calendar/images attached since that would be done in SS anyway, and not needed for the writing stage.
This app ended up being the best of all worlds for my specific needs. I really want to focus on my writing, not worried about Squarespace crashing (I get overzealous and try to use Safari — my own fault). I also am a huge fan of the keyboard shortcuts for the interface. Within an hour of my free, trial I was switching back and forth already while importing all of my draft posts I had in other apps.
Let’s go through what the Ulysses App has that I am loving.
A Clean Look
First off, it has that clean writing mode that I was looking for. The ability to JUST focus on writing, as well as clean markup.
Hashtags in multiples denote which headline, so when copying and pasting the content you get the correct markup when pasting back into Squarepace.
The app uses text-files that are read through the interface. Meaning you are creating a new file for each entry (can you say happy awesome backups!) Integrating right into my dropbox for each folder I am now able to create files, and not just entries for each post. No more losing posts — as well as being able to send them to someone without the app to load into the site.
The second part of the organization is that it uses a filing system just like a normal computer, which allows me to really keep track of my ideas and finish them. In previous apps, I found it difficult to go back to unfinished ideas, leaving me with tons of half-written posts, and half-assed ideas that never came to be.
Export to Files
For those who know they will need to send a file to someone else to look over, or potentially even sending something to PDF, or DocX or even to RichText for when you need to put into SS. I love this feature. I will definitely be using this when drafting regular written documents, not just blog posts.
Word Count and Goals
In the software you can set word count goals, and we all know that SEO-wise there is definitely a happy medium. Keeping track of when you need to write more, or cut back on your silly stories is key.
Shortcuts to Headings
In the top menu, any heading you create by typing your hashtag in front of a line, will create a little “chapter mark” in the menu system. This way when you have very long documents, you can jump back and forth to different sections without scrolling.
A Well Known Interface
I have been using a mac laptop since I was a Junior in college, so … a while ago. With my Mac, I have used MacMail for at the very least my personal email. I know use another app for business email, so I can use the Do Not Disturb on weekend, - see blog post here. I know the MacMail interface like the back of my hand. It’s a simple left-sided hierarchy app, where you see the folders, then the files individually, then the content (left to right). The Ulysses App mimics this, but you can also collapse each of the sections until you are left with a full screen writing app that is squeaky clean and pretty to use.
Since the file is based on basic .txt files, there’s no embedded font, meaning you can use whatever your heart desires in the actual program, that is if you have it on your system. I use my trusty Sentinel for writing, since it has that Clarendon Air about it, while typesetting like #boss. Then when I export out to Rich Text File, there’s no font issue, so it just cleanly loads.
Since I manage three different blogs on here, and potentially want to create PDFs from written documents, I have created three separate styles for PDFs! So handy right? You can create your own styles and manage them right within the system to then export to a lovely document that is easy to use. Want to create a PDF for your published courses that goes through content, just a clean + easy document, but don’t want to have to remember to apply that style while writing. This just let’s you export it in that fashion, instead of worry about it along the way. I’m sold.
Bonus Points for Bloggers on WP and Medium
Guess what for you non-squarespacers, as usual you get a little bonus, but either you are opting for a non-platform, or having to deal with all the things I refuse to on WP, I’m not so worried. You all get an easy integration where you can export your content right into a draft on your platform. Woopeeee.