Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Writing: How I Use My iPad

Project: sidekicks
Wordcount: 26,000

I've been thinking lately that I really need some topics to talk about each week on my writing post, because otherwise I end up just babbling on about nothing/anything and I doubt it's very interesting to read. So I'm up for any suggestions -- anything you guys want me to talk about that's writing-related. This week I figured I'll talk about the different ways I use my iPad to help with my writing. Even if you don't have an iPad, you can probably find ways to do similar things if you think they'll help with your own writing.

Apps I Use:
Evernote/Notes: Free
Evernote's big thing is that it syncs notes to your computer, but I never use this function. I like this note app over others because you can put notes in folders, tag them, and use italics, bold, and indenting (sort of). And of course the Notes app is easy to use because it's just the basic iPad/iPod note app. Anyway.

A lot of times when I'm away from my computer I'll be thinking on a certain scene -- sometimes the one I'm working on and sometimes a future scene -- and note-writing apps like these are good for a sort of "freewriting" that I do. I often write the scene I'm thinking about, or even just a skeleton of the scene, and then type it into Scrivener when I'm actually at my computer working on the novel.

Another thing I've been doing lately, in this first draft, is keeping a running list of things I already know I'll need to change in the next draft. (My advice if you're going to do this is to be as specific as possible. I'm always amazed at how something I thought was perfectly clear when I wrote it is a vague mess months later.)

Penultimate: $0.99
This is a handwriting app that has come in handy. I always have a notebook for whatever novel I'm working on (an actual, physical notebook), but I've also started a virtual notebook on this app that's good for all the things I feel like I have to write out by hand. Sometimes this means writing parts of the actual novel by hand (I switch to this sometimes when I feel like my brain needs to shift gears) and sometimes it's planning, listing things, thinking things through with a pen in hand. It hasn't replaced my physical notebook, but I have my iPad around more often than my notebook lately. (Thanks to Capillya for suggesting this app to me.)

This is an early page of my notebook for this story, back when I was still trying to figure out how to best tell the story. I think omni-third and omni 3 are supposed to mean omniscient POV and third person, which now that I think about it makes no sense. So maybe I don't know what I meant after all. Heh.

Popplet: $4.99
This is the most expensive app I've ever bought but for me it was so worth it. Popplet is an app for mind maps (flow charts) and since one of the biggest ways I plan my novels is by using flow charts, it's awesome. I've been able to plan out different relationships and scenes really really nicely. What I love about flow charts is that I can outline a scene or event in the book with all the different choices a certain character might possibly make, so I can see all the outcomes and paths to get there; it really helps me figure out what's the best way to go when I'm having trouble with a certain scene, character, or relationship. I love it. (And for those who know what I'm talking about, the Popplet app is very similar to the website, which I also love. And I think you can make online charts with Popplet, though I'm not 100% on that.)

What apps do you use to help with your writing, whether on iPad, iPod, phone, whatever? Or just non-computer things you use to help, like actual notebooks and folders and such? Also, what topics would you like to see discussed in my Monday Writing posts?


  1. Great post, Jordyn! I now have to get that Popplet thing for my WiPs! I don't have an ipad, just an iphone, but I see a lot of potential for one in the future...

    1. Popplet is AWESOME. IDK if they have it for iphones, but I hope they do because it's so great to use.