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The 5 Best Writing Apps for the iPad

The 5 Best Writing Apps for the iPad

    So you’ve decided to start writing on your iPad, be it the original model or the shiny new iPad. You’ve made the call to use it not just as a consumption device, but as a creative device. You begin to look for the usual suspcets, but Word doesn’t exist for the iPad and Apple’s Pages is something you could probably avoid if you’re willing to look around a little bit.

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    Or…you could just take a look below and get a taste of what I consider to the 5 best writing apps for the iPad.

    1. iA Writer

    Write without distraction. That’s the whole idea behind iA Writer, which first appeared on the Mac and has since made its way to both the iPad (and very recently, the iPhone). If you’re looking for a writing app that has very little in the way of customization, then this is the app for you. It’s pleasant on the eyes and keeps you focused on the task at hand – writing. And it syncs across platforms using eitehr Dropbox or iCloud, so you can write on whatever platforms you have ia Writer installed on. That’s pretty darn seamless.

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    2. Simplenote

    Simplenote is a fantastic app that will allow you to do the same in terms of syncing that iA Writer does. But Simplenote is generally viewed as an app used for notetaking more than writing. Still, with its ubiquitous nature and cross-platform capabilities, Simplenote is among the best at letting you get the words out of your head and onto the screen. Any screen.

    3. Writing Kit

    Writing Kit may not look as pretty as iA Writer, but it has a ton of bells and whistles built right in. The app has a browser integrated right within the app, allowing for research and quick linking where needed. It also allows for export into a variety of apps, including Things and OmniFocus – a great boon for the writers out there who happen to be right into productivity as well (ahem). The fact that Writing Kit allows writers to use Markdown syntax (as does ia Writer – and Simplenote when you bring something like nvALT into the mix), syncs to Dropbox and features a plethora of options for users puts it as a bit of a dark horse on this list. But a very worthy addition all the same.

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    4. PlainText

    If you’re looking for something clean and simple, PlainText has got you covered. It’s not as feature-rich or as pretty to look at as some of the others on this list, but it does what it is supposed to do: help you get writing done. The team behind it also developed the very populat WriteRoom (Hog Bay Software), so they’ve got experience in this realm. It does allow for syncing via Dropbox and is perhaps the most frictionless app on this list because of its stripped-down nature.

    5. Byword

    The new kid on the iOS block, Byword has been around on the Mac for some time. Now available for both the iPhone and iPad, it brings much of what the Mac app had to the mobile platform. Featuring Markdown support, syncing in the cloud, and an interface that balances feature set, focus and function, Byword already makes this list based on my limited time with it. Those using Byword on the Mac should jump into using it on the iPad to create a continuum in their writing workflow, and the consistency across all platforms is what makes this one a winner in my books during my brief look at it for the iPad.

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    There are others to consider (Notesy immediately comes to mind), but hopefully with this guide you’ll be able to find the writing app for your iPad that best suits you. Because there’s nothing worse than playing around with writing tools rather than actually writing with them

    (Photo credit: Contemporary Digital Tablet… via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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