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Desktop to iPad Blogging Workflow with Scrivener, Elements, Dropbox, and Marked

Desktop to iPad Blogging Workflow with Scrivener, Elements, Dropbox, and Marked


    One of the keys to a good life hack isn’t just finding the right technology to do the job, but actually finding the right combination of technologies to get the job done. Many of you wonder how us writer folks keep our writing projects on track and in sync, regardless of the where or when we’re doing our writing (sometimes we wonder ourselves, actually). I’ll tell you sometimes it’s not easy, until you find—and set up—the right apps and services to make things all come together. This post is all about how to go from your desktop to iPad and back and keeping everything a couple clicks away from being ready to publish online.

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    The first, and most essential, part of this whole system is Dropbox. If you’re not using Dropbox, now is the time to sign up and set up. Without Dropbox’s easy and fast file syncing—syncing that works on pretty much any device you throw at it—this system wouldn’t work at all.

    Next thing is the file format. Writing for the web—and blogs specifically—is a no Word zone (or Pages either for that matter), basic, boring text files are the files of choice here. Well, text files with a twist. While I’m writing this in a text editor, I’m also using the markup system called Markdown that is essentially a shortcut for HTML and let’s me format this post for posting—even put in links and such—without having to type HTML, per se.

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    With the foundations in place (Dropbox and text files), let’s move onto the actual writing part. On my Mac my writing app of choice is Scrivener (Mac and PC). I’ve written several books and lots of posts in it already, so I’m no stranger to it in the least, but one of the features I haven’t used too often (though I should have been) is Sync an external folder. The basics of how to do this are pretty simple and this post from Jamie Rubin puts it all together nicely. At the guts of it, you’re just telling Scrivener to look in a particular folder on your machine (in this case a folder within my Dropbox account that my iPad app saves to) and import files from that folder into the project. It’s important to have your Scrivener project be saved in a different location than the sync folder.

    The next part for the writing on the go element is, actually, Elements. This is a great, simple iOS (iPad and iPhone—which is one reason I really like it) app that just creates text files. And syncs to Dropbox. And (optionally) syncs to iCloud. And supports Markdown with a nice preview window and the ability to copy (clean) HTML to paste into your blog editor of choice (I’d opt for WordPress for iOS, actually). Elements isn’t the only choice out there—believe me, I’ve bought and tried almost all of them—you can also check out Nebulous Notes, iA Writer, Byword, Plain Text, and Edito (I told you I tried them all). The essential part is syncing with Dropbox so you can write something on the go and have it “automagically” appear on your machine at home when you get back.

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    The last bit of magic is Brett Terpstra’s app Marked (sorry Mac only). See, while I can copy and paste HTML from Elements on my iPad into the WordPress editor on my iPad, I’d rather pull everything together on my Mac at home. Inserting images and such is still a bit of a chore on the iPad, so forcing myself to open, review, and edit the post on my Mac is a good safety net. While I can export HTML from Scrivener, I don’t like to because the exports are designed as complete web pages, and I don’t want that. This is where Marked comes in. I just drag and drop the text file (with Markdown) onto Marked and I get a beautifully rendered document and when I copy the HTML from Marked, it’s just the HTML needed for a post. Nothing more, nothing less, and no extras that might mess things up.

    So I can start a post in Scrivener, then finish it on my iPad, and then post it. Or, like I’m doing now, write the whole post on my iPad, and put the final polish on it on my Mac at home (along with images and such) and post it. All the while I’m still just editing the same files, seamlessly, efficiently, and transparently.

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    (And if you’re wondering about typing on the iPad, I’ve used the on-screen keyboard for light writing and the Apple Wireless Keyboard for heavier projects. For this post, however, I’m trying out the Zaggfolio keyboard and case…and really, really liking it.)

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    Last Updated on February 13, 2019

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

    Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

    Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

    1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

    Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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    2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

    You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

    3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

    One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

    4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

    Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

    “There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

    5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

    happiness surrounding

      One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

      6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

      People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

      7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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      smile

        This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

        8. Happy people are passionate.

        Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

        9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

        Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

        10. Happy people live in the present.

        While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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        There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

        So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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