With the release of the iPad in 2010 there have been a slew of writers taking to its portable and sleek design. It can easily be taken anywhere and is quick to hook up to a Bluetooth keyboard, open a writing app, and go to town.
Because of this we have also seen a ton of new writing apps hit the iOS App Store in the last year or so. We have outlined some of the best iPhone writing apps here on Lifehack and I have to say that every month or so there is something new that tends to impress and leads me to purchase.
But, typing on the iPad isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, I do most of my mobile writing on iPhone. Here’s why.
Portrait, fast keyboard, small screen
There have been recent improvements to the iPad’s keyboard on the new version of iOS allowing the user to slit the keyboard and touch type. It’s pretty awesome and works OK in practice. But there is nothing like flying on a portrait iPhone keyboard. I can even “fat thumb” my way through an article and iOS is smart enough to know what I want to say 90% of the time.
The small screen of the iPhone limits me to a small portion of text in the window that I can view. This helps me not think too much about what I am writing and focus more on getting ideas down fast. I can go back later and change things up. The reduced amount of text on my screen helps me concentrate on the act of writing.
The portrait keyboard on the iPhone is spaced almost perfectly for my hands and allows me to type much faster than on my iPad, even with the new split keyboard. Some say, “well then use a Bluetooth keyboard, you jackal”. To that, I speak my next point.
Anywhere I go
The iPhone is the most ubiquitous tool I have ever used in my life. Maybe second only to a piece of paper and a trusty Uniball Vision RT. But, my point is that the iPhone is glued to my hip all the time. When I’m in line at Starbucks. At my desk. With Siri and a headset in my car. Everywhere I go.
And because of this ubiquity, I can jot down a couple of sentences for a post anywhere. Now, with Siri and voice dictation I can “write” while driving. The iPhone is truly a “write anywhere” type of tool and because of that I prefer it over the iPad or even my home PC (because I can lay down in bed while writing).
When a tool for writing and getting thoughts down is with you anywhere the resistance to create is lowered and the excuses of why you aren’t doing it are turned into bullshit.
How to do it for yourself
OK, so maybe I have convinced you that your iPhone is the way you should write. If so, here are some tools for your iPhone writing that can help you out.
This is downright the best tool for text expansion on any platform. Give TextExander something long that you normally type, even longer words, assign a “snippet” to it (a shorter piece of text) and type away, friend.
If you want to talk about ubiquity of writing and note taking then Evernote can’t be left from the conversation. I have had some qualms with Evernote in the recent past, mostly because of data portability, but after listening to a recent Mac Power Users I have decided to give Evernote another look and try. In fact, I am writing this sentence in Evernote on my iPhone.
If you are a plain text, Markdown kind of animal then Notesy for iPhone is what you want to work with. It’s simple, fast, has Markdown previews, integrates with TextExpander Touch, and syncs with Dropbox. What more can you ask for?
A wired headset
If you want to dictate with your shiny new iPhone 4S or even use Dragon Dictate for your “lesser” iPhone to get text down on the go, then all you need is a decent wire headset. The one that comes with the iPhone is OK, but I “upgraded” to the Apple in-ear headset. The results are great.
So, to keep my writing habit alive I find that writing on my iPhone is one of the most pleasurable and frictionless ways to do it. It helps me stay focused and allows me to do it anywhere. Give it a try and see how your iPhone can help in your writing habit.