If there is one thing I’ve learned about writing and word processors since the demise of WriteNow and the nearing end of Bean, it’s to be patient; go with the flow but keep moving forward. The truth is out there.
Word processor apps and notes apps are everywhere and they’re a dime a dozen. Many purport to be minimalist (few features) while a few good ones have gone subscription. It took me awhile, but I have a new favorite that works on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Writers are an interesting breed. We tend to favor one type of keyboard over another. We disdain anything that gets in our way of putting the digital word to the screen. We loathe Microsoft Word and Apple’s Pages (they’re not that bad, but not for real writing). These days our perspective on writing tools has changed. We want a tool that gets to work quickly, but also works on Mac and iPad (iPhone is a tiny screen plus).
Six months ago I wrote about a little word processor that caught my fancy. It’s called iA Writer and you can check it out here. The claim to fame is ease of use, a growing list of useful features, and iA Writer can be used to write almost anywhere. Rather, on almost any device.
Simplicity is the trend among writer’s tools these days and iA Writer blazes new ground by not adding too many features to become overweight, but enough to be cleverly useful to those paying attention.
For example, iA Writer has what is called a workflow. Think in terms of notes, writing, editing, reading. It’s a quick and easy app for notes, which then turn into the written word, which can be edited, then viewed appropriately with enough formatting to be readable.
The app has Markdown syntax, which I don’t need, but it allows for fonts and comes with custom typfaces (better for optimal reading. The workflow components can have their own task-specific typeface and color.
What you write can be previewed, and the basic information you need is available instantly– sentence, word, and character count, plus reading time. The whole shebang is saved instantly and syncs between Apple devices via iCloud. The built-in organizer, well, organizes Library Locations and Favorites, and is easy enough to manage but without distractions.
So, why the change of heart?
Patience. Using a new tool takes a degree of time to master; whether it’s simpler than previous tools, simply different, or more complex. iA Writer became, over a six month period of mostly regular use, familiar.
That extra time and patience have made it a favorite.