A writer asked: “what’s your favorite writing app for books?”
I had to think about it. Once, the answer was simple: Scrivener.
Today, not so much, because I write in Markdown.
For me, writing in Markdown means:
- It’s easier to meet deadlines.
- There’s less inclination towards procrastination—I can write on any device, in any app I choose.
- Enhanced creativity.
Primarily of course, Markdown offers easy conversion.
Markdown means you can write once; use anywhere.
Writing app magic with Markdown: easy conversion
For long projects like books, or client materials, I create a group for the project in Ulysses. Then I dump all my Markdown documents into the group.
Using Marked 2, I can easily format the group into almost anything I choose, including PDF, DOCX, HTML…
Easy document conversion with Marked 2
If I want to turn the material into a book for example, Marked 2 converts the Markdown to a DOCX file, which I open in Vellum, an app I adore because it creates beautiful books, quickly and easily.
The process looks like this:
- Write wherever I choose, using Markdown; often I’ll start a project in Obsidian.
- Add the material to a group in Ulysses.
- Convert using Marked 2.
- Then send to its final destination: a client, a WordPress blog, or to Vellum, if the project is a book.
Ulysses has recently made collecting documents easier: it now offers projects.
New in Ulysses: projects (yippee! Easier longform)
Projects mean that Ulysses now has almost everything Scrivener has. Creating a project is simple. Just click the plus icon in your sidebar.
An example of creating a project in Ulysses
If you’re using Ulysses, creating a project means you can save your drafts in a single group. Additionally, you can collect extra material, whether that relates to project notes and ideas, or to marketing—right in the group (project.)
Is Ulysses my favorite writing app?
No. Of course I hope the app keeps developing. However, the BIG benefit of Ulysses for me is that it’s a Markdown editor.
My favorite “writing app”: Markdown (use it for the longevity of your content)
Is Markdown a writing app?
No, it’s just plain text. Many apps can create it and read it.
Inevitably, proprietary formats are dead ends.
Apps tend to be bought, or to die. Loved the original WordPerfect of the 1980s and 1990s? Tough.
I’m still grinding my teeth over one blogging app, which died seven years ago, along with its proprietary format. Thanks to this app, I have a mile of content I can no longer access or use.
Expensive lesson learned. (Finally.)
Writing takes time; a writing app needs to use plaintext or Markdown so that you can use the content five hours from now, or ten years from now. If you’re creating content in a walled garden, or in a proprietary app, disaster is just a matter of time.
To save heartache, please be aware of this.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.