Writing with IA Writer

by Steve on February 7, 2015

#Trying IA Writer

As I’ve started doing more writing, I decided to dust off my iPad and discovered that my beloved Plaintext app has been replaced by the behated Plaintext 2 app….so I needed to find a new app.

One of the first things any aspiring writer needs to do, and I know this is true because established professional writers dismiss it (to keep the tribal knowledge secret), is to spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting their workflow and tools. I cannot just write. I must use a suitable app*, preferably on a Mac, and then cobble together a selection of other apps that run on every device I own, including our net-aware refrigerator, so that at any time I may be able to jot record important thoughts.

So I needed to find a new editor.

#Pros

So, after doing some research I bought IA Writer Pro. It is an excellent choice because it is

  • Expensive
  • Somewhat non-intuitive to use
  • Has exotic features that I’m sure will make me more effective and writery after I figure out what they do

It connects to Dropbox, and that is very important because I have to be able to sync it with Scrivener (even though IA Writer has a Mac app, which works very well). This also presents a larger footprint of sophistication and complexity, which allows me to worry about things like how to get a blog post from this format (markdown), through scrivener, and into the WordPress app. Or just to the WordPress app if I get it done before I get home.

Scrivener is even more writery, and offers a metric ton of features. But back to IA Writer.

It has a syntax feature which highlights different things like sentences, adjectives, and adverbs. This is useful for catching cliches, tell vs show, and other flaws. It also has a character and word counter, and does a decent job integrating a bluetooth keyboard once you figure out how to make that work.

#Cons

The first one is that in the search for elegance the developers have made their site so incredibly concise that not a single bit of information is mentioned twice, and as a result I had to read the entire site…even things that I wouldn’t have thought I would would have to go looking for. For example, the information on the keyboard commands I had to learn to use certain features (well, all of them, really) is found only on the general page, but not on the iOS page, even though I was using a wireless keyboard on an iPad. It took a good five minutes of hunting for me to find it.

The good news is that the site is so incredibly concise that it didn’t take long to read the whole thing. I highly suggest that you read the section titled Keyboard Use first, if you’re using an external keyboard.

Overall, I’m happy. I wish it would deal with rich text, but most editors I could find have abandoned rich text in favor of markdown.

*Yes, I know paper and pen, or pencil are also valid and excellent choices, but generally it’s a keyboard for production, pen for memory, for me.

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Big changes afoot!

by Steve on February 5, 2015

I’ve just done something big. Something I’ve been kicking around for a long time, but could never quite decide to do. I’ve merged my last two blogs into one – really, I’ve added the posts from one to the other.
I have imported the content from my other blog – SWDuncan.com – and shut it down. Everything will be on Recording Thoughts from now on.
So why am I doing this? Well, SWDuncan.com has been refocused a few times – originally it was Lornitropia.net (my first branding lesson learned the hard way 8-), then SWDuncan.com. It absorbed the posts when I closed down other blogs on woodworking and cigars (still do the former, but not the latter), was an online brochure for consulting I was doing at one point, and finally ended up where it was – not a good fit for anything, really.
I felt like I had to give it a career/business focus but ultimately that was a fool’s errand because all the best business stuff I do is for my employers who generally regard it as their property; Hence few if any business/intelligence/strategy related posts.
That leaves the dog’s breakfast of my hobbies and various interests that I flirt with on a regular basis, and were the main focus when I started Lornitropia. Writing about those on a blog that purported to be about Answers, Alternatives and Strategies…well, you get it. So I didn’t write those posts either.
Well, that’s a lot of great content that never got posted, and it was often frustrating to have an idea for a post that didn’t fit the narrow focus I had placed on RecordingThoughts, but didn’t fit my idea of SWDuncan either. I often thought of merging the two, but couldn’t decide which to keep. Finally I decided to keep Recording Thoughts.
Don’t worry if you’re a Recording Thoughts RSS/Email subscriber you’ll still get just the type of content Recording Thoughts has always had. If you’re an SWDuncan subscriber, you’ll get everything.
Any questions?

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Black vs. Gray

February 5, 2015

Gray versus black. At first I thought it was a stupid question. I’m mainly a black ink person. I do have my moments when a blue black or bright blue will catch my eye, but most of the time, for just about any kind of pen, it’s black. If you’d asked me about gray, I […]

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Thinking while bathing

February 3, 2015

How do you record thoughts in a bathtub? It’s not a simple problem. A bath or shower is relaxing. No one can expect much from you while you’re bathing, not that they might not try, but the warm water and quiet have a way of freeing the mind. A free mind naturally leads to big […]

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