Things I Spied IV: Writing Apps


Some of my best writing takes place in motion, on or waiting for the subway. It is funny, because I used to closet myself in reverential silence whenever I had to put pen, then key, then pixel to paper. But now I have My Writing Spot on my iPhone, iPad and computer, and whatever I write gets synced on all three sites. It is a very simple app, with none of the bells and whistles of Word or even Pages, but I find it very appealing. It was designed by a mystery man, who is an Email away for excellent support. He asks in a very low key way for a donation for his work. I know I sent one in already, but I am so pleased with the app, I am planning to send another.

When you open a new document (the +sign), a blank page appears and you type. In a wireless environment, everything is saved immediately and you can color code each document listed in the left-hand panel. My blogs go from a green dot while in preparation, to a published in pink one. Offline, on the iPhone, you have to intentionally shift to that panel to save your work by touching the upper left corner. When you are connected wirelessly again, you can sync it to the computer and iPad. So I walk the subway platform, typing on my iPhone, then shift from side to side in the rocking train, writing, writing.

I often write the blog on My Writing Spot wherever I am, then copy it into WordPress on my computer for formatting, addition of pictures, and publication. I also used it to write parts of  “Tainted Biology,” my new novel. Writing 1700 words a day is a challenge, so once again I took every opportunity to compose; on the subway on my iPhone, waiting in an office on the iPad, or finally standing at my computer at home.

Then I transferred what I had written to Scrivener.

Ah, Scrivener, the joy of my writing life! And the complete opposite of My Writing Spot!

Writing a novel, a script, a grant proposal? Scrivener can accommodate you. Separate your work into chapters, scenes, segments? Add pictures? They are right there at your fingertips on the left sidebar, having been imported in. References? They are there in the left-hand bar as well. Need to keep track of your characters? Templates are at hand. Need a split screen? At your fingertips!

Instead of having to flip back and forth through files or programs, everything is there on one page.

I used Scrivener in writing my first novel, “Bad Chemistry,” and for writing grant proposals, and have found it to be infinitely flexible and useful. Best of all, once the work is done, Scrivener will format it into Word or other writing apps in an instant! There is extensive tutorial support, most of which I have not used, because the basic steps are highly intuitive.

The cost at $45 is well worth it in terms of the quality of writing life it provides.

Now if only it would find me an editor and publish my books for me!

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