Mario Villalobos


Since the day I first started writing a blog, I’ve always yearned to write really good personal essays, but I never gave myself the time to grow enough to accomplish this. Instead, when I sit down to write an entry, I go into it unprepared. I have no idea what I’m going to write about, and what I do end up writing is published unedited and sometimes not proofread. I’m not always proud of everything I write, and I’ve sometimes felt ashamed that I didn’t spend more time with an entry to improve it. My name is emblazoned everywhere, tying me to each and every word I write, and I know I should be more mindful about keeping stock of my name, but I don’t.

One of the biggest issues I’m battling with myself is spending money I’ve not budgeted for on things I want. I have to be careful not to overload my life with tools because they’re new and desirable and instead use the tools I actually have. It’s tough when that new app or notebook or other tool comes out and it looks life-changing, and all I want to do is buy it. Today, for example, my Maker Confidant notebook from Baron Fig arrived. Of course it’s beautiful and well-crafted and I can’t wait to use it, but I didn’t need it. I had their other limited edition Confidant, the three-legged juggler, that I’ve yet to use. Things aren’t different on the digital side.

I’ve been keeping all of my blog entries in their own Scrivener project file since almost the beginning of my blog’s existence. For a while, Scrivener served its purpose really well. It organized and contained all my writings in one place without worry, and all I had to focus on were the words. Recently, though, I’ve felt that I needed another tool that could handle my blog a little differently. Scrivener is great for my novel because I use many of its features, and I can’t imagine using anything else for it. Yet that power is more than I need for my blog. Scrivener handles Markdown fine, but I’ve been using Byword to write all my entries in Markdown and sync that back into Scrivener, but that just made Scrivener a container for all my entries and not really a tool I actively used.

A little over a week ago, Ulysses came out for both the Mac and iPad. I’ve heard of Ulysses tangentially from some Mac sites and podcasts I consume, but I never looked into it. Last week, it was everywhere. Conveniently, the developers offered a demo version of it, which I downloaded and tried out. I fell in love with it immediately. It looks and feels a lot like Scrivener, but it’s a bit simpler and more focused on writing in plain text (aka Markdown) than Scrivener. I love that I can easily and quickly break down one essay into multiple “sheets”, rearrange them at will, and then merge them all back together. I did that with this entry, and it changed my entire view on how I can write in the future that I’m simply excited to keep writing.

I appreciate tools that make me excited to create something with them. I love writing in my Confidant notebook, and that’s a big reason why I have three of them. I love writing my novel in Scrivener, which is why I wanted to write my blog with it, but it absolutely was the wrong tool for the job. Ulysses is the right tool for this particular job. I used the demo version to write this entire entry, and all I have left to say is, “I’m sorry future Mario for the financial debt I’ve put you in, but you have to admit, it was worth it, right?” I’m confident the answer is yes.