Should Ulysses make me switch to mac ?
February 6, 2007 9:44 AM   Subscribe

Ulysses or Copywrite enough to switch to Mac ? Oh wait ! It looks like there's

I a am writer busy juggling with several projects. I'm currently using (mainly) OpenOffice on a WinXP machine.

I'm eager to hear from Ulysses and Copywrite users : are these piece of software reasons enough for a switch to the apple side of life ?

I've used Ywriter to outline my nanowrimo novel (I'm a 2006 nanowrimo winner) and OpenOffice to do the actual writing.

Feedback on really good writing software designed for writers on any platform would also be greatly appreciated.
posted by Baud to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I also juggle a lot of writing projects and tried Ulysses for a few months while working on my novel. I didn't like it - I found the stuff they put in there that's supposed to help you stay organized were distractions, like the notes window, the project window etc. I went back to using Word and using (depending on the project) either notecards or a notebook for notes. I also organize a project by putting different docs into folders, so I don't see the need to have a 'project' window to organize the files in your book. I also don't see any problem in a regular word processor with just including notes in-line in the text. I do a lot of editing, so easy to get rid of these as I go through draft afer draft.

When I was using Ulysses, it felt a lot to me like it was designed for people who need special pens and special notebooks to write - like more of a barrier to the writing process than a tool solving real problems. It might help others organize, though - but that was my experience with it. The full screen mode was kind of cool, but not worth changing the way you work to have.

I guess what I would ask - what features are you lacking with your existing tools? Then you can look for something that satisfies those requirements. I think the answer to this is highly dependent on how you like to work, but for me I find that the less I rely on a specific set of tools - a special pen, special writing sotware, the more I actually get done. I'm not saying these programs aren't useful to some people, but I would look at how these programs might solve specific problems you're having with the way you work.
posted by drobot at 10:06 AM on February 6, 2007

Best answer: My wife has a shiny new Macbook and I a PC. While playing around on her machine I downloaded Scrivener and flipped the @#$%?! out. It was seriously the coolest word processing program I have ever used and the features were awesome for outlining and corralling research. I instantly began coveting a Mac. I did look briefly at Ulysses and Copywrite, but they didn't seem nearly as appealing to me. If I were you, I would look at Scrivener and reassess your situation.

FWIW, I'm professional journalist and writer, so I know of what I speak. But I also recognize everybody's writing style is particular.
posted by Heminator at 10:50 AM on February 6, 2007

Second for Scrivener. It's one of the few apps I've seen in recent years that lived up to the hype.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:17 AM on February 6, 2007

posted by zazerr at 11:20 AM on February 6, 2007

I've tested out a bunch of Mac programs for writing and I have to say (not to sound redundant) that I vote for Scrivener. I found myself using multiple applications for my research/writing before I stumbled upon this one. Though I've only used the beta version, I was immediately impressed by the feature-set.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 11:42 AM on February 6, 2007

You can also try out these for Windows:

Rough Draft


Jer's Novel Writer

Opinions, as usual, vary as much as do individuals for these applications.
posted by juiceCake at 12:33 PM on February 6, 2007

I used Ulysses for several years and just jumped ship to Scrivener this week. They're really geared toward people who write things scattershot, with lots of notes and research and bits and pieces to keep organized and interconnected. If that's not your style, then it'd probably be overkill to switch entire operating systems just to get access to these tools.

Of course there are 10 kagillion other reasons to get a Mac but let's not go there.
posted by jga at 2:08 PM on February 6, 2007

Best answer: I've had a general ineasiness toward specialized writing tools in general for a long time -- that, despite having spent money on more than one of them -- and couldn't ever specifically verbalize why.

And then drobot comes along and says, When I was using Ulysses, it felt a lot to me like it was designed for people who need special pens and special notebooks to write - like more of a barrier to the writing process than a tool solving real problems. which pretty much sums it up perfectly.

I've tried just about all of them, and bought not a few, and I'm back to legal pads and a word processor.

As far as switching to a Mac, I think DEVONthink is reason enough (not as a writing tool, but as an "intelligent" storage and research assistant).
posted by terceiro at 6:16 PM on February 6, 2007

I wrote my Nanowrimo novel with Writeroom, but am now seriously thinking of Scrivener (mostly for academic writing). On windows, I used Keynote, but I've found that writing on the Mac is generally more fun.
posted by dhruva at 6:30 PM on February 6, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - I'm now eager to try Scrivener ! I've also tried rough draft before writing the question - it's a robust piece of software but not 100% suited to my needs like Scrivener might be. The mix between project management and actual writing tool looks very promising.
posted by Baud at 6:30 AM on February 7, 2007

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