Ulysses Writing App

I have written before about the use of writing app’s as an aid to productivity so I won’t repeat myself here. I will however tell you about my experience with Ulysses, as writing tool from The Soul Men. It’s not exactly new but it’s new to me and, so far, I love its simplicity.

Since acquiring an iPad Air I have been looking for a writing app which is easy to use and fully functional on this device. I have waited for Scrivener to deliver their much promised iOS version which is now on the market and working fine. Anyone who uses Scrivener will know what a great tool this is particularly as it is now a true cross platform piece on Mac, iOS and Windows via the Dropbox cloud storage facility. But whilst I was waiting for the iOS Scrivener App to be developed I discovered this wonderful writing app called Ulysses and fell for it immediately.

It’s quite unlike anything I’ve used before. It is so simple and clean that it inspires the writing process. I am currently writing this post on my iPad and it is set in ‘Typewriter’ mode which means the line I type is always in the same place and so I look at a single line of text as I’m typing it on the page. This stops the distraction of looking back at what I’ve typed previously and so I’m not flitting back and forth, editing as I work. (This has always hampered my progress, as I constantly ‘fiddle’ with work I’ve written but I don’t wait until the draft is done)

There is full Mac version too and also an iPhone app and they all work in iCloud so there is an almost instant update on all these devices without the need to do anything but type. It removes the need for the writer to constantly save work as it is saved automatically in iCloud, if you have an Internet connection or updates immediately you go back online. I can’t remember how many pieces of work I’ve lost because I failed to save them properly. There is so much more to this great bit of software which I don’t,t intend to describe here but I would encourage you to have a look at it.

Look in the App Store for it, you won’t be disappointed. Sadly, there is no Windows version. Or check out the website http://ulyssesapp.com

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How do you follow that?

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I have just finished reading this book, Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. It’s a book which took him nearly thirty years to write and finish it and then have it published. There are many books written about war and many of them about the Vietnam war but there are few that can depict such a real insight into the conditions which were endured by a young generation of boys. Sent to a strange country to fight an enemy, young boys, much like themselves. Who they were taught to hate but never met. Spending days and nights in wet, humid jungle. Often without water and proper food and every minute scared of every shadow. It is funny but often gruesome and it is a true story based on Marlantes own experience of the war. Where seventeen-year-olds commanded ten to fifteen men and a twenty-three-year-old officer was responsible for every waking and sleeping hour of the lives of over two hundred. It’s a tale of bravery, sacrifice and of how quickly they grew up when facing death, leeches, near starvation and even tigers every day.

It’s actually the second time I’ve read this book in two years. The first time I devoured every page and felt loss when I finished it. Having finished reading it again, albeit a little slower this time, I once again feel that loss. I’ve tried starting two books since but can’t really get going on either. I seem to find that when I have read a book I particularly like, so what’s the answer?

How do you get started on another book after a really good read? I know I’ll just persevere until a book clicks but I just wondered what the secret is.

 

Words

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
Rudyard Kipling

I don’t know about you but, all my life, I’ve been plagued by certain words which I have trouble spelling. I have never been able to spell ‘restaurant’ at first go. I don’t know why but it always bugs me and I either have to look it up or use the spell checker. I get the ‘a’ and ‘u’ in the wrong place or miss them all together. Another word is ‘definitely’ which I seem to want to put an ‘a’ in. Or it comes out as defiantly. I have seen others who make this particular mistake.

I know that most of us mistake the ‘there, their and they’re’ sometimes but I usually correct that in the editing stage. (I hope).  Most of us realise the difference in UK and US dictionary words. (realize)

I find it quite annoying, though, when I find errors in a books or magazine stories. Something that has managed to get past the editors and proofreaders which seems to jump off the page at me. Having read some of the self-published e-books I find that mistakes are commonplace and really good stories can, for me, be spoiled by a lack of concentration. I don’t blame the writer as we are all guilty of reading what we think is there, especially when we’ve written it and our brain knows what should be written. Perhaps employing a proof reader would help in these circumstances but it’s easy to judge.

Do you have any words that trip you up constantly?

Blogging 101

“Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”
Paulo Coelho

I think I must have got it wrong. I was looking for inspiration and motivation from Blogging 101 but sadly, so far, that’s not been the case. Perhaps I was looking for something which isn’t included in the course, although I will keep going with it and see the month out. Just in case by bailing early  I miss the good stuff at the end. Maybe I didn’t read the blurb, initially, but I’m not one for small print. I’m the guy who buys a new TV and takes it out of the box and gets it working before he looks at the instructions. Or the man who builds flat pack furniture before realising you need to fit a crucial part BEFORE fitting the top. But that’s me.

Even when I have read the posts in blogging 101 they don’t seem to be following the promps either, as though other bloggers are thinking the same as me and doing their own thing. Occasionally a blog post appears that resembles that day, or the previous days prompt, but mostly it seems that any post tagged ‘blogging’ is in that reader and so it’s not exclusively for those on the course.

All in all, so far, it’s not doing it for me but I’ll hang in there and see what develops. Anyone else got similar or different thoughts?

Blogging 101 – Day 2 – Title and Tag Line

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Bert Lance

Day 2 of Blogging suggests that we look at our blog title and tag line and change it to something more appropriate. Strange thing is – I like my blog title and my tag line so I’m not going to change it. I feel that change can be good and useful but often we change just to change. I am very much in favour of change but only change for the good and for improvement.

‘My Write’ is my personal play on words and means it’s my right to write whatever I want, within the laws of free speech and common decency. I don’t think I am alone in saying that blogging is about talking to an audience. Whether that’s to one or one hundred thousand followers, it’s immaterial. The numbers don’t matter, to me, it what’s being said that counts.

The tag line ‘Ramblings and reflections on life’, I don’t think requires any explanation.

What do you think? Are you happy with your blog title or have you ever changed it?

2016 Reading List

Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
Ray Bradbury

I’ve just signed up to the Goodreads book challenge 2016. It’s where you decide how many books you wish to read during the year. It’s not really a challenge, as such, but I’ve never actually counted how many I read on average. I had already decided that this year I would keep a tally but the challenge means I don’t have to bother. When I start a new book or end one I merely go onto the website and enter the details and they keep track  for me. It is also a good place to discover what other readers think about the next book you are considering. Others can rate and comment on any book they have read and likewise you can do the same once you either complete the book or give it up.

I just wondered how you choose what books you buy and read? Is it by author, genre, number of pages or perhaps even a bright book cover? Sometimes a thousand pages can be a little daunting and maybe even half that number can seem like an uphill struggle. Or perhaps there is the perfect novel hidden behind a plain and boring cover. I  tend to follow an author I’ve already read, although that can sometimes be disappointing, but more recently I’ve gone by recommendations. Sometimes those come from friends or from blog posts or suggestions via email. I have, for many years, subscribed to the Everyday Ebooks website. From here they send out a daily recommendation with a comment from a reader. I have discovered some great books on here, notably ‘Matterhorn’ by Karl Marlantes. Someone I’d never heard of before but it turned out to be one of the best and memorable stories of the Vietnam war I’ve ever read. Based on true events and real people it is not for the faint hearted but exciting and impossible to put down.

So how do you decide what book to read next?

2015 Departs with a Vengance

Kirkstall Road

Pictures from BBC website

We’re almost at the years end and what an end it has been. Vast areas of land and roads and houses are flooded. Places which have never had any kind of water problems have become engulfed, as rivers burst their banks and flow into towns and cities. The picture above shows one of the main roads in and out of the city of Leeds, up here in West Yorkshire. It looks like a serene lake this morning but earlier it was a fast flowing torrent. The sun is shining now and it’s a lovely winter day.

Llamas

This is about half a mile from my house – Picture by colours may vary – BBC Website

It’s unbelievable, for me, to see this as I was born and brought up in the city, I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this before. It’s one of those things which happens to other people and in other areas. We have suffered from days and days of heavy rain, stopping for a couple of hours and then returning and continuing day and night. It’s certainly been the wettest in my memory, and I’ve been around for a while. Luckily, for me, I live quite high up and no water has reached us, but lower down the hill the park is like a boating lake. Much of the rain which fell on the hills last night is still to be seen in the rivers.

The financial impact on local businesses will be tremendous, and I’m sure some won’t survive, but the effect on families, especially at this time of year, is incalculable . I can’t imagine what they must be going through with their possessions destroyed. Although I know that human lives are far more important than goods, but to watch, helpless, as your lifetime is washed away must be heartbreaking.

My thought are with those people, and I hope they get the support and help they need. Most of all I hope that 2016 is a better year for them and for everyone.

Happy New Year to all.