People still consider Scrivener as one of the best software for serious writing like novel or non-fiction. But I have seen increasing number of complaints about its lack of mobile app. There was news about upcoming iPad app but nothing happened as yet.
Ulysses successfully fills the gap left by Scrivener. Recently, I bought Ulysses for Mac and IOS because of a sudden whim to update my writing tool. What I needed was a software that I can use to write everything for my projects, a couple of blogs including this one and a non-fiction book that I have wanted to write for the last 10 years.
What I was looking for was a software that can hold all the texts for my projects and also allow me to organize texts under each project. I also wanted a real-time sync between my iPhone and Mac.
Ulysses turned out to be the perfect tool for my purposes. The sync was not as fast as what you get with Simplenote web and mobile app. It takes about 5 or 10 seconds for the sync to work but that is good enough for me, because I am not changing my devices every single minute while writing. As long as what I completed writing on Mac can be seen on my iPhone later and the other way round, it is OK for me.
Another thing I like about Ulysses is that you don’t have to care about text formatting. Depending on your markdown knowledge, you can just leave the text as it is or you can use markdown in an extensive manner to format your outcome as pdf, epub, html or even medium post. Actually, I hardly use markdown except using ## for header.
What makes Ulysses a better tool for me is its simple menus and seemingly stripped down (but hidden inside the shelf for advanced users) features compared to Scrivener. I tried writing on Scrivener several times in the past but always stopped my projects in the middle of writing. For some writers who are well versed in what the software can do, Scrivener might be the perfect software. As for me, I always meddled with various features of the software and soon found myself spending more time on dealing with the software rather than actually writing something.
In a nutshell, Ulysses can be used as a simple text writing and organization software or as a powerful writing tool with lots of options for text formatting and compilation depending on how deep you want to explore its features.
Ulysses is not cheap. It almost cost 80 dollars to buy both Mac and mobile apps. The steep price troubled me for a few minutes after the purchase but after working with it for a few hours, I felt it was worth it. I have a good reason to feel that way. I have been having difficulties in writing new posts for my blog for several months. However, with Ulysses, I wrote several pages in a single day for the first time since I don’t know when. Ulysses is one of a kind software you should definitely try if you just want to write something instead of getting bogged down by features of writing apps.