The Secret of Winning NaNoWriMo: “Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard”

Robert W. Boyer Was Possibly the First to Win NaNoWriMo 2014

On November 17, 2014 you hit the 50,000 words goal for this year’s NaNoWriMo. We know, because you used Ulysses’ goal feature to share your word count. Many writers are struggling to get there by November 30, if they succeed at all. How did you do it?

Tweet Robert W. BoyerI’ve toyed with the idea of committing to NaNoWriMo the past few years, but I’m scared of commitment. When I make one I keep it, damn the torpedoes, never mind the collateral damage. This year I decided to commit.

Short answer is butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Don’t wait for a good day, or a mood, just start typing, even when it feels horrid, even when your voice sounds lousy in your own head, just start moving.

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Make Yourself Comfortable – A Guide on Customizing Your Writing Environment in Ulysses, Part 4

In the former parts of this series we explored most of the adjustments you can make in Ulysses to convert its clean and focused writing environment to a clean, focused writing environment that is custom-tailored to your taste and needs. If you’re happy by now, or always have been, you can skip this post. However, if you think there is that certain indefinable something missing to perfection, you should try building your own theme. It is much more fun than wallpapering a real office, at least if you’re not a handcrafter by profession.

Step 10: Build Your Own Theme

In Ulysses, you can create your own theme by modifying an existing one. Go to Ulysses’ preferences and select the Markup pane. In the lower part of the window you’ll see all available themes – Ulysses standard themes and those you downloaded from our Style Exchange. Choose the one you like most, right-click and duplicate it.

Theme_Duplicate

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Make Yourself Comfortable – A Guide on Customizing Your Writing Environment in Ulysses, Part 3

As a writer, you are possibly spending a couple of hours per day in your text editing application. Are you pleased by the way things look? In part 1 and part 2 of this series, we covered some basic adjustments you can make in Ulysses to feel even more at home. Time to look closely at themes, for if you need a major change of scenery.

Step 9: Download Themes From the Ulysses Style Exchange

Just as a reminder: Themes are to define the colors of your background, font and markup in the editor, and you can change your theme in Ulysses’ preferences. If you’re not confident with the themes Ulysses ships with, or if you’re just curious, you should pay a visit to the Ulysses Style Exchange platform. There, users can upload, download and rate themes (and export styles, but this is another story). The following selection showcases some of the most popular themes.

Outback theme
Outback is the most downloaded of all available themes and was the first one contributed by a community member, the Australian journalist Matthew Cawood.

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Designing the Ulysses Library

A couple of weeks ago I chatted with Max about the concept of the Ulysses editor. Likewise, a lot of thought went into the Ulysses library. Marcus Fehn, the other Soulmen from day one, answered my questions.

One of Ulysses’ most prominent features is the library. It’s where all texts are held, and where all organization takes place. Could you please explain the idea behind it? Why did you choose it over single, stand-alone projects?

The library is based on two ideas. The first one is that all of your writing should happen in Ulysses. This is our ideal conception. Writing is ubiquitous, we jot down notes, we draft, we rhyme, we do whole novels – and chances are that we’re not doing one of these exclusively. So we wanted our users to do all of this in one place, without having to worry about where they put, say, their notes. It’s just all there, in this very app. There are no file names, no Finder management, no “Project A new v2 no really new NEW.whatever” to worry about. And if Ulysses was the only writing app on the planet, we would have done a simple library, enabled iCloud sync, and shipped.

Marcus Fehn
Marcus Fehn, co-founder of The Soulmen

The second idea is more of an acknowledgment. People have different needs, fears, options. Some outright hate iCloud, others only have a single Mac anyway, and yet others have to work across different apps, for whatever reason. And if we want our users to do all of their writing in Ulysses, then we need to enable all these different users to do so. Let’s call it pragmatism.

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Problems With iCloud Drive? Here Is What You Can Do

Since the release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite we are seeing an increased number of problems with iCloud Drive. Synchronization among devices in general and between Ulysses and Daedalus specifically were reported to not work.

Did you upgrade to Yosemite and are affected by syncing problems? Then please check up on the following points.

  1. Are all your Macs on Yosemite and all your iPhones and iPads on iOS 8? The former is a requirement for syncing between Macs, the latter for syncing between Ulysses and Daedalus.

  2. Syncing under Yosemite will only work when iCloud Drive is enabled on all devices. For verification, go to the System Preferences of your Mac, select iCloud and make sure that iCloud Drive is enabled. Enable iCloud Drive Also, click on Options… to check if it is enabled specifically for Ulysses.
    On iOS, go to the system settings, select iCloud and ensure that iCloud Drive is On and enabled for Daedalus.

  3. Syncing still doesn’t work? Try restarting your Mac and cold-booting your iOS devices. To cold-boot an iPhone or iPad, hold the Power and the Home button pressed simultaneously until the screen goes dark.

  4. Apple gathered the most important support information regarding iCloud Drive on a dedicated website. Have a look if it provides an answer for your question.

If all of the above does not solve the problem, don’t hesitate to contact our support. We’ll do our best to help.

Set Yourself a Goal: 50,000 Words!

Goals allows you to set word or character limits to sheets and groups. During NaNoWriMo, you could make use of this feature to track your progress towards a fantastic 50,000 words goal. As a journalist, goals can help you to not exceed the character limit for a magazine article.

To attach a goal, move your mouse to the upper right-corner of a sheet and select Attach › Goal…

goal-attachsheet

You can also right-click on a group in the Library or on a sheet in the Sheet List to do the same.
Attach a goal

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“Ulysses Most Beautiful Feature Is Its Willingness to Get Out of the Way”

Novelists, journalists, academics, screenwriters – all kinds of authors are using Ulysses for their writing. We asked some of them to share their story. In this post, Patrick Pittman explains why for him Ulysses is the perfect place to “just write”.

Patrick Pittman
Patrick Pittman, Photo: James Horan

Which role does writing play in your professional life? What are you writing and how much?

I’m an editor, journalist, playwright, sometime fiction writer, sometime writer for hire. I freelance for various international magazines, writing everything from political briefings to longform features. I also do radio work of the sort that requires scripting. In the evenings, I’m writing the more fun kinds of things that don’t pay anything of note, but that I enjoy the most. Fiction. Love letters. Idle musings. Plans for projects that may or may not ever come to fruition.

Let’s just say, making words on the screen is most of my life, interspersed with flying all over the place to record other people’s words, and propping up bars scribbling notes.

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Ulysses Makes Pasting Smarter

Did you ever paste some text and didn’t get the expected result? Then you should know about Smart Paste, available with the shortcut shift-cmd-v (⇧⌘V). For example, Smart Paste can help when

  • you like to paste a snippet of Markdown, HTML or Rich Text and convert its syntax or formatting , or
  • you’re writing a technical documentation and need to paste a code snippet that should be preserved.

Smart paste helps you to paste text the right way: It detects all appropriate ways for pasting to your sheet and lets you choose the one that fits your purpose.

Let’s give it a try and convert some custom Markdown into Ulysses syntax. First, select and copy the following text with cmd-c (⌘C).

Paste *this* snippet to [Ulysses](http://www.ulyssesapp.com/)!

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Syncing Ulysses and Daedalus via Dropbox

If you want to write on the go, you can do so with the iOS app Daedalus Touch. Sync with Ulysses to be able to edit these texts on your Mac. By default, synchronization between Daedalus and Ulysses happens via iCloud. Do you prefer not to rely on iCloud because your company does not allow using it, you like to edit your files with 3rd party apps, or for any other reason? You can actually use any file-based sync service. This blog post explains how to set up syncing with Dropbox.

To set up Dropbox syncing in Daedalus, tap on the action icon and select the sync icon. If you work with an iPad, you can simply tap on the sync icon located in the upper left corner. Select Last Sync on the red bar to get to the accounts available for syncing. In the appearing list, tap on Dropbox and sign in. After verification, the Dropbox account settings will pop up. You can adjust them to your needs.

Stack View Sync Button Sync View

Account View Dropbox Linking Dropbox Settings

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Out Now: “Writing a Novel with Ulysses”

Bestselling author David Hewson’s new book is now available for Kindle, iBooks and Nook.

During the past few years David Hewson sent us an email every now and then. Usually, they were about support questions: The British author is a long-term observer of the market for writing software, and he also bought and tested the two precedent versions of the current Ulysses. But only the latter was finally able to convince him.

Mail by David Hewson

Another email that also came in August was rather surprising: He approached us with the proposal to write a book about Ulysses. Needless to say that we were particularly pleased. David is a renowned author, writing makes for a great part of his daily routine, after all he is making a living of it. It is an honor and a recognition of our work that a professional writer like him counts on Ulysses and even shares his insights and experiences in a book.

David HewsonCover Writing a Novel With Ulysses

David’s mystery novels are read by millions of people all over the world. As a master of his trade, he also passed on his knowledge in several succesful guidebooks to aspiring authors. “Writing a Novel With Ulysses III” is the latest and now available for purchase. It is helpful to get a grasp of Ulysses’ approach to writing and its particular benefits for fiction authors. As suggested by its title, the book offers hands-on advice to get out the most of Ulysses for novel writing. The way Hewson approaches that specific task might even deliver some inspiration to those who consider themselves advanced users of the app.

The time of the release is about right for the book to assist one or the other NaNoWriMo writer reaching the 50.000 words goal. This year, we are sponsoring NaNoWriMo, and if you’re interested you can get a free preview sample of David’s book on our dedicated page.

“Writing a Novel With Ulysses” is now available on Kindle, iBooks and Nook. Look in your territory store, or follow these links for Amazon US, Amazon UK, iBooks, Nook.