Writing With Ulysses

Anything that helps me get to writing is a good thing.

As is clearly obvious to any reader of this blog (and this assumes that there are any readers of this blog left), I am very, very, very, very poor at writing for this blog on any kind of a frequent nature.

I had the best intentions when I started this thing. I really did. But we all know where good intentions often lead.

Is it getting hot in here?

But! I love to write. So motivation is clearly not the issue. Rather, the lack of ease in getting these random thoughts out of my head and down on electronic “paper” is the obvious problem.

Yep…blame it on technology. Let’s go with that. It allows a reasonable shift of the blame from the lazy writer to the ever present and always willing technology.

It’s the computer’s fault. Deal with it.

Taming the Technology

So let’s start with WordPress.

I have a love/hate relationship with WordPress, bordering more on the side of hate.

Frankly, it’s hard to use, it’s expensive and even with all the money I am paying to them, you, my lovely readers, are still subject to ads on my blog which I have no control over and cannot hide unless I pay them even more money.

The WordPress editor is woefully inadequate. It’s cumbersome and it seems to do the opposite of what I tell it to do most of the time.

Because it doesn’t offer an enjoyable writing experience, writing becomes a chore rather than a joy. So instead of writing, I have conversations with myself, throw balls to my dog, sit around contemplating the nature of my role in the universe with my wife, pretty much anything but write.

And Then Came “Typed”

One day while having a conversation with my dog and throwing a ball to my wife (wait…that’s not right) I came across a brand spanking new writing app for my Mac.

It was called Typed.

And it was beautiful!

It came from the small team of developers at Real Mac Software.

The focus of the software (notice I said focus) was on “focused” writing. In short, it got all the clutter out of the way so that all you were left with was a blank page just waiting for the intrepid writer to, well, write. It even came with a soundtrack that would play in the background (if so desired) to keep you focused (see, there’s that word again). They called it Zen mode.

I was literally in writing heaven!

But the love affair soon began to wane as it became painfully obvious that Typed was not a major focus for the team at Real Mac Software. It became clear that there was no intent to release a companion app for the iPhone or even the iPad, the latter of which I use for writing while traveling (why lug around a MacBook when an iPad works just fine?).

Real Mac Software eventually released a blog publishing platform, called, fittingly, Typed.com. I personally helped fund the project on Indiegogo in an all out effort to find a replacement for WordPress.

Typed.com was successfully funded and is up-and-running, but it’s still a baby and I haven’t had the time I need to invest into it to decide it it’s a platform that makes sense to fully switch over to.

Time will tell.

But it seems that Typed the app was really just a stepping stone to Typed.com. A means of getting to an end.

Ultimately, and sadly, like so many small technology companies with great apps (or apps with great potential) Real Mac Software sold the software to another small company called 71 Squared.

And there is sits.

71 Squared changed the name of the app to Focused, but seemingly have done nothing else with it. They haven’t even changed the original screen shots employed by Real Mac Software to advertise the app.

It’s a sad tale of an incredible writing application that had the potential to be so much more.

This isn’t a negative critique of Real Mac Software. I think they’re a great bunch of guys who write some really amazing software. Rather, it’s just a lament over what Typed could have been.

Enter Ulysses

But today, I am officially in love again.

I hear birds singing. I see small yellow flowers opening to the sun, dripping with fresh morning dew. I smell fresh blueberry pies baking in the oven.

Okay, that’s not true. Actually it’s raining like cats and dogs right now, lightning and thunder surround me on every side, the power’s out and every ten seconds, my UPS device chimes at me to let me know that it’s operating on battery power. Yes. That’s all actually happening as I write this paragraph.

It’s not exactly the “zen” like atmosphere that Typed promised once upon a time.

But I am still in love. Unadulterated, unequivocal, unambiguous love.

“Why,” you ask? (Go ahead. You know you want to. Ask me “why.” Ask me now.)

Because today, Wednesday, the third day of August, two thousand and sixteen, I discovered “Ulysses!”

No, not the ancient king in Greek mythology, but rather the king of markdown writing apps for the Mac, for the iPhone and for the iPad.

Typed, who?

Ulysses has—in the space of about two short hours—taken away every bit an angst that I’ve been feeling about Typed (or “Focused,” or whatever).

It has every single feature that the guys at Real Mac Software baked into Typed and so…much…more.

Okay, so it doesn’t offer Typed’s Zen mode, but no worries. I have iTunes and thousands of songs. All I have to do is put Ulysses into full screen mode and press the “play” button on my keyboard and I’ve found my zen. And I don’t even believe in “zen,” so that’s saying a lot!

And when I’m all done being completely and utterly focused on my writing, this puppy integrates with WordPress, so I hit one button and my latest masterpiece (which would be what you are reading right now) is published.

I don’t have to worry about ever seeing WordPress’s very much non-zen interface.

I’ve written this entire post completely within the environment of the Mac app and I’ve enjoyed literally every second of it. Now I can’t wait to try the iPad version.

I would just like to personally give a shout out to the developers over at Ulysses for producing such an amazing piece of software.

I officially have one less excuse for being a lazy writer.


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