The iPad For Writers

Multitasking is for assholes.

No, no, I know, multitasking is the aegis of the modern man. “I’m walking. I’m talking. I’m chewing bubble gum with my mouth and… well, a couple other orifices. I’ve got a laptop strapped to my chest so I can: hammer out a spreadsheet, listen to Merle Haggard, watch the fuckthousandth version of Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday,’ read about the mating habits of the Vancouver Island stoat, play a little Bejeweled, and masturbate to animatronic animals like those found in Disney’s ‘Country Bear Jamboree.’ Ooh! And I’m on my way to kill a man in Reno just to watch him die. I’m a multitasker, motherfuckers.”

To repeat: multitasking is for assholes.

This is doubly triply quadruply true for we crazy creatures known as “writers.” Writing is a thing of focus. Imagine, if you will, that the train of thought is a very real vehicle, and once you’re on board, it’s best to stay on board. You go hopping on and off that damn thing like some kind of itinerant hobo, you’re going to, well, as the saying goes, lose your train of thought. You watch your mental caboose disappearing down the track. And then what happens? You get eaten by coyotes, that’s what happens.

This is of course why we have a new series of programmatic efforts to shut out distractions and keep you, the writer who has been trained that multitasking is the best thing since Jesus invented the jet-ski, focused. Write Or Die. Freedom. OmmWriter. And so on, and so forth.

Thus I give you: the iPad.

Apple’s iPad is a marvelous device for writers. I didn’t honestly know if it would be when I got mine. Writing is so often driven by a tactile feel: the clack-chack-zing of a typewriter translates to the PC keyboard, and here comes the iPad, which is really just a rectangle of glass. Do you really want to write a novel on a window pane?

Could be, rabbit, could be.

Here, then, are my thoughts on the iPad as a writer’s device. This is not meant to be the end-all be-all: this is just my set-up and why I diggit. If you’re a writer and have an iPad? Please do chime in.

It Is About Separation And Precision

The iPad allows you to easily take your little writer’s window (the device itself) and wander away from your desk. It takes you away from distraction, then gives you the precise tools you need to get the work done.

You might be saying, “But, dumbass, one’s iPad likely hosts an unholy array of distractions,” to which I would agree. I’ve got endless amusements: email, Twitter, World of Goo, Infinity Blade, Words With Friends, Netflix, recipe programs, Flipboard, blah blah blah. Here’s the difference, for me. Right now, my PC has 18 browser tabs open, and 12 programs open on the taskbar. Sometimes, I find myself flitting from tab to tab with no certainty why I’m doing so. It’s like, I have to click them just because they’re there. This is bad when writing, of course — “Did I just end a paragraph in the middle so I could go check a weather report I’ve already checked seven times this morning?” It’s like I have a disease.

The iPad, while still technically a “multitasking device,” does so, but in a reduced and less efficient way. And that lack of efficiency is a good thing, because really, the lack of efficient multitasking creates more efficient uni-tasking. Each app feels like an island, which is just what the doctor ordered.

The Setup

Here, then, how the iPad sits on my desk:

The iPad sits to the right of my computer. “Just another distraction,” you think, and yes, that can be true — but it’s very easy to grab it and walk out of my office. This is key. It also helps me shut down peripheral programs on my own PC and segue them to the iPad: while writing, I shut down everything on my PC but the work, then use the iPad to check Twitter periodically. It’s a trick, I know — but writers are loons, our brains like undisciplined terriers. Sometimes, you need Stupid Writer Tricks.

It rests on a 12 South Compass stand, which in a pinch will also serve as a baton to fight off ninjas or highjackers. Actually, no joke: possession of this device in your carry-on luggage will get you stopped every time, and they will ask you to take it out, and guards will show up to watch your movements as you reveal… ta-da, it’s just an iPad stand, not a Jihadist Infidel Cudgel.

The iPad sits in an Otterbox Commuter case, which is ruggedized to deal with a fall. I do this because I am easily as clumsy as a drunken baboon with a degenerative hip. Easily.

The most important part of my writerly iPad digs is the USB adapter… oh, I’m sorry, I mean, “camera adapter.” This device says it’s only good for connecting cameras to your iPad to download photos and videos. *poop noise* Not true! Not true at all. This little fucker is a straight-up cold-gangsta USB adapter. (“Cold-gangsta?” Shut up.) What this means is: that’s right, you can plug a sexual simulation device USB keyboard into the tablet. It’s funny, because even when you plug in the keyboard, the iPad tells you: “Oh, uhh, yeah, that device is totally unsupported. Just unplug it now. Don’t even try to type on it. You’ll fail. You’re doomed. Seriously, wait –” And then you try it and, oops, yeah, it works fine.

Typing on the capacitive screen isn’t terrible, but to get heavy-duty writing done, you’re gonna want a keyboard. And this lets you have that.

(Oh, and I have the Wi-Fi only iPad. This lends itself further toward the “minimal distraction” thing, because the inability to find a 3G signal is great: again, minimum multitasking leads to maximum output.)

The Apps

Of course, it’s all about the apps, baby.

Here, then, are the apps that inform my writer’s existence. In no particular order…

Dropbox: If you do not know and love the Dropbox, then I must wonder exactly when you suffered traumatic head injury. Dropbox lets you backup your wordmonkeying. Not iPad-specific, which means you can access it on whatever device you choose. Free.

PlainText: This is my word processor of choice on Ye Jolly Olde iPadde. It’s minimalist. It syncs to Dropbox. It counts your words. Great place to take notes or even write whole chapters. Doesn’t hurt that it’s totally free.

Kindle: Duh. Kindle. Books. iBooks is good, but has few books available. Free.

Netflix: You’re saying, “Another distraction, Wendig. I’m on to you, you sonofabitch. Trying to justify your bad behavior.” No, seriously, Netflix instant streaming is intensely useful as a writer. Great documentary work on there plus shows from History Channel and National Geographic. Good research material. See also: TED talks, which has an app. Free.

GoodReader: Read and annotate PDFs? Yes, please. I think it’s only a buck.

NoteTaker HD: Cool program that lets you use your finger (or a stylus, I guess) to take notes. But here’s where it really shines for me: writers get a lot of contracts, especially when freelance, and this lets you take a PDF and scrawl on it with your finger-pen. Which means you can sign PDF contracts, save ’em, and send those suckers right back to the client. No need to fuck around with printers and the post office. Five bucks.

Index Card: Great visual outlining tool that simulates the look of index cards on a corkboard. Great for hitting the beats or tentpoles in a planned fiction project. Can also turn into a line-item outline without the visuals, too, which is handy. Index Card is a writer’s best buddy. Oh! Syncs with Dropbox. Five bucks.

SketchBook Pro: I got this on sale for a couple bucks, but normally I think it runs about eight. I wouldn’t call this an essential in terms of writing-related apps since its straight-up visual, still, it’s nice to have some doodle space that is a little prettier than what you get with Note Taker.

Popplet: On the iPhone, I use SimpleMind, but only recently did SimpleMind get a native iPad app which will then cost me an additional seven bucks to buy — unfortunately, even though it appears universal, it’s not universal. Doesn’t much matter because in the meantime I got hooked into Popplet, which actually has greater functionality in some ways: drag-and-drop mind-maps can also include little doodles and images. This is, by the way, what the corkboard simulator Corkulous is missing — the ability to connect pieces together to create a kind of narrative flow. Five bucks.

2Do: Confession: I actually hate all of the iPhone/iPad “to-do” lists. I want items that I can schedule but also snooze, and so far, that just doesn’t seem to exist. This is the best I could find, but to be honest, most of my to-do stuff has segued to a whiteboard in my office.

What’s Missing?

I tried Scrivener for the PC and I just didn’t get my head around it. That said, I was busy on deadlines (when am I not?) and didn’t have time to dick around with new software. Even still, I could sense the potential, and think that on the iPad something like Scrivener would really rock. But I don’t know that an iPad version is planned? I remember reading it was, but now I can’t find the info. Hrm.

As yet, Final Draft is not on the device, though it is coming.

I wish for a greater web-clipping service, something that allows me to easily clip webby bits and incorporate them immediately and easily into my workflow (Index Card, Popplet, etc).

Speaking Of Workflow

Generally speaking, I do not write large swathes of story on the iPad. I use the PC for that, but I can believe that the days of the desktop write-machine will draw to a close over the next couple years. At present, the iPad is a super-capable organizational device. I keep the iPad handy to take notes, to arrange materials, to do some “on-screen thinking out-loud,” and, yes, to play some motherfucking Words With Friends. It is an elegant supplement to the writer’s life, and actually does a lot of what I want to do, except mysteriously it does it better than the PC, which often can barely do the things I want it to do in the first damn place. Good mind-map? Not on the PC. Index card outlining? Not on the PC. Sign contracts with the magic of my middle finger? Not on the PC. The iPad is this weird little happy box, this wonderful magic window.

In the end, the iPad is like a little helper monkey.

A penmonkey for the penmonkey, perhaps.

Should you rush out and buy one if you’re a writer? Well. That’s on you. It’ll help, but it’s also not a necessary device. Still, note that it is tax deductible if you’re a working writer and, further, is a suitable notebook/laptop replacement (in my opinion), and manages to be a helluva lot cheaper, to boot. So, YMMV and all that, but the iPad will supplement your writing life in a meaningful way.


I mean, uhhh.

*smoke bomb*

46 responses to “The iPad For Writers”

  1. Nicely done.

    You forgot to mention Evernote for storing notes and website clippings.
    I don’t use it but, according to the Internet, everyone else does.

  2. I’m a writer, and an Apple fan too, but I never use my iPad for writing. I have tried, several times, with the on-screen keyboard and an external bluetooth keyboard. But I’ve never liked it, and so for portability and writing on the go, I got an 11″ Macbook Air instead (the single best writing-related purchase I’ve ever made).

    I tried Pages mostly, but the lack of mouse input was pretty much the deal-breaker. Typing and backspacing to correct (as any writer does) is fine, but when something needed to be done outside the paragraph I was in, like I had to go and change or fix or add something that just occurred to me somewhere else, having to reach and touch the screen and try – with varying levels of accuracy – to put the cursor where I wanted was just too much hassle. As well as no mouse, there are also no arrow keys.

    My Macbook Air, when the lid is closed, is almost the same size as my iPad (just a hair longer). It also weighs only a little heavier. For writing, you can’t beat it. In fact, I now use that for nearly all my writing as it is so light. I’ll write on the couch, or at the kitchen table so I look out the French windows, or wherever, despite the fact I have a nice big computer upstairs with a huge monitor.

    The iPad is great, but for me, not for writing.

    • @Adam:


      Ahem, whoo, sorry about that.

      This is definitely a “different strokes for different folks” thing, no doubt. I largely don’t use the iPad for the actual writing — there I like my Dell because I still get Word on it, and I’m a Word user for many iterations. Plus, the widescreen LCD monitor makes a very pleasant writing and editing experience.

      I would love a MacBook Air, mind you — played with one the other day, and oooh Lawdsamercy it was lovely. Literally as light as air. LITERALLY. It floated away from my grasp like a bubble. Okay, maybe not exactly, but it was splendiferously light.

      Still, I don’t know that I’d ever buy a laptop again. (Don’t quote me on that, it’s just a hunch.) The iPad does so much in terms of all the other stuff that *surrounds* writing that most computers don’t even do. Further, this is only very early in the iPad’s existence, I suspect it’ll get better. Then again, with Apple, it might get worse, who can say?

      — c.

  3. I’m cheap. (By which I mean broke. Mickey Mouse took all my money.) The IPad is price prohibitive to me. But it seems like most of the high points here could be found in the right tablet, no matter who makes it. (I’m sure there are specific things that won’t be emulated, IPhone ties in and such.) But mostly, that image of your desk of something so light you could just grab and run away to a sweet forested glen is.. lovely.

    You do have a sweet forested glen nearby, right? Bambi and pixies and the like?

    • @Filamena: Our house is actually smack dab in the middle of a forested glen. No pixies, as yet, but on a walk yesterday we interrupted six deer on the way out and the way back.

      As for the iPad being price prohibitive — it definitely is, and it is by no means an essential in the writer’s arsenal. That being said, I’ll make a bold statement and note that, at present, no tablet except maybe the Xoom comes close to the iPad in terms of capabilities and feel, and the Xoom remains more expensive than the iPad (which is cheap). The iPad has and will likely remain the tablet leader for quite some time yet. That’s not me as an Apple fanboy saying that, because here I am writing on a Dell PC.

      — c.

  4. Dammit, Chuck, you beat me to the punch! I’m currently writing a novel mostly on the iPad, and I’m planning on blogging about that when I’m a bit further in.

    For now, I’ll just say – totally with you. I use most of those apps, or very similar ones. There’s no Scrivener for iPad (and probably won’t be) but I can sync both Index Card and Notebooks with it via Dropbox, which is what I’ve been doing. I use a Zaggmate keyboard/case for heavy-duty typing – turns my iPad into a kind of retro-looking netbook.

    And yeah, I’m going to tax-deduct this baby 🙂

    Here’s my post on my favourite features of Scrivener 2.0, btw, if you still need persuading:

  5. @Anne – we’ll have to drag Chuck around to the Mac side of things for Scrivener 2.0. The Windows version is still a shaky beta and still based on version 1.0, for some reason.

    • @Adam/Anne: Scrivener for Windows I found kinda ugly, honestly. It “looked” like Windows, which is not a compliment, especially when Word or other Microsoft programs don’t even have that Windows “look” anymore. Once this desktop goes south, I’m likely making the move to the Mac, I think. A deep PC part of me writhes and hisses at that, but I think I need to get over that. I mean, even something as stupidly simple as iMovie — lovely on the Macs, and nothing seems to come close on PC unless you’re willing to dump a basket of cash at it.

      @Brendan: I don’t use Evernote anymore. The fact that web clipping is kinda difficult on the iPad is a problem. I like Evernote on the PC side of things, but it feels gimped on mobile and iPad.

      @Tony: I’ve used neither Scripts Pro or Quickoffice. Will look into. Thanks!

      — c.

  6. I write my scripts in Scripts Pro, my novels in Quickoffice, using the apple wireless keyboard as my item of choice.

    I actually find I enjoy typing on it more than my PC keyboard…

  7. There is great and terrible irony in me losing track of my mid-sentence thought in order to come read this article.
    For my budget I think it would be more feasible that one of these days I try Write or Die.

  8. Thank god I’m not the only one with a bajillion tabs open, hopelessly clicking them as if I am possessed. The weather report thing? I do that.

    I think the ipad, like nearly every other piece of technology, can be really good for writing. Eventually, I’ll get one.

    Good, informative post. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talk about the iPad from a writing perspective before.

  9. Wendig, seriously, you are the mother-fucking man (and that’s like, you know, the truth now). Every time that I question why I would want to know you, you knock something right out of the park – in this case, Dropbox. I had no clue this existed and this is exactly the kind of thing I have been needing. You rock it like it has never been rocked before. Fuck, my beard just grew an inch basking in your sweaty glow.

    Also, I dig Scrivener for Windows a crapton. The organizational aspects have really helped me out. Not trying to sell, just saying you’re a fucking tool and do as I say or else it’s all over. *Finger. Line. Throat.*

    I’ve also decided that, when money allows, I am skipping the iPad and going for the Motorolla Xoom. Since I am already on Android with my mobile, it makes sense to keep total sync between devices, and the 3d interface of Honeycomb looks fucking awesome.

  10. Maybe I’m the weird one, the odd man out, but I simply cannot be productive in a totally silent space. The void of distractions actually distracts me away from what I’m doing. I’ve been like this since at least junior high — I always needed to do my homework with my CD player blaring, or in front of the TV in order to be able to concentrate.

    I need a distraction available so it won’t distract me from what I’m doing. If that makes sense, which it doesn’t.

    So typically, I’ll open Scrivener (which I am giving one last chance to impress me for the dough, since it’s still in beta-testing and there are very similar freeware programs available) and drag it to the right half of my screen. Then I’ll open Netflix, find something to watch, and drag it to the left side of my screen. Usually, I’ll try to choose something appropriate to what I’m writing.

    Last night, I watched Underworld while working on a scene of a mage fighting a shapechanger. Before that, it was some deep-sea documentary while I was fleshing out my novel’s Underworld — not the movie, the Lands of the Dead.

    I’d like to get more utility from my smartphone, but I’m not available for a free/severely-discounted upgrade until April of next year. And my current phone is BlackBerry, which I love, but I’m less thrilled with Research In Motion’s proprietary assholism. I’ve yet to find a single worthwhile app for writers that’s affordable and works the way you want it to.

    • @Maggie:

      I’m generally the opposite, at least in terms of media — movies, music, any of that only serves to either distract me or needlessly and invasively inform my writing.

      I prefer to just live in my own crazy-ass headspace during the writing time.

      — c.

  11. Mom never understood it either. She used to yell at me for writing papers in front of the afterschool cartoons, but it made it a lot easier for me to do. I guess it’s just the way my brain works. While the quiet is very nice — and oh so goddamn rare with three munchkins and a Beardless Wonder in the house — I can’t focus in it. I get fidgety. Twitchy.

    Put on a kid’s show in the background for the baby, or a streaming documentary in another window, and I can unlock the headspace needed for creativity. I can focus away from the distraction and unleash total (well, mostly total) concentration.

    Like I said, I’m weird. But each their own, right? 🙂

  12. The iPad is much more useful for writing work than I anticipated. With DropBox and a good DropBox-enabled text editor, it makes a really useful grab-it-and-go kind of setup. (You’ll really start to appreciate the mobility of the iPad and its long battery life when Wendig II: Electric Boogaloo has arrived. Trust me on that one.)

    I write on the glass screen without problems. If I had to pair it with an external keyboard, I’d use my itty-bitty Apple Bluetooth keyboard, but I find that having to tote that one around as well just destroys the portability and ease of use of the iPad.

    Apps? DropBox, Elements (like PlainText, only with a few more bells and whistles), Pages, Penultimate, tons of reference stuff. There’s also iA Writer, which also syncs with DropBox and gives you the extra punctuation and last/next word keys that are missing from the iPad’s first keyboard level. (Seriously, Apple–having to shift keyboard modes for QUOTATION MARKS is a serious fuckup on the usability front.)

    All in all, the iPad is much better suited for content creation than I thought it would be. Not the best tool in the writing toolbox, but a decent one, and very good as a mobile writing solution when you have to move around a lot and don’t want to haul around your laptop and a charger.

  13. Thanks for the heads-up on the apps and keyboard tip. I’ve been a diehard GoodReader and Dropbox user for awhile now, but I’m definitely going to grab some of those others, especially PlainText and Popplet.

    As for a to-do app, check out Due. It lets you schedule, snooze, and reuse previous to-dos, syncs to Dropbox so your iPad and iPhone versions mirror each other, and costs five bucks for a universal version.

  14. Scrivener is definitely one of those things you need to get in and play with for a while – find all its options and functions and figure out just how you’ll use it. Although the difference between the Mac version and the Windows beta (beta being the key word here) is noticeable — even between 1.x and the beta. Menus and options are a hell of a lot easier to navigate on the Mac. I still haven’t figured out how to get the full screen text editor to override colors so I have easier-on-the-eyes black paper and colored text. Although if you ever get a Mac, look into the free trial. If by the end of 30 days you still like it (or fall in love, like a lot of folks) then it’s well worth $40.

    (And no, no current plans — well none announced afaik — to put Scrivener on iOS)

    :-p We’ll always disagree on the silence thing.

    But yeah, right now the iPad is too expensive. Instead I’ll keep using my iPod Touch like a little pocket notebook for jotting things down on the go. The old system of notebooks for massive scribblings and brain dumping, the Lenovo laptop for research in front of the tv, and the desktop for the bulk of the writing works well enough.

  15. Typing on my windowpane…. I use my iPad for everything but typing the manuscript. Research apps: NYT, Huffpost, CBS, CNN, ad infinitum. Character and plot development: Index Card, iThoughts (my most often used writing app). Goodreader for review and edits. Dropbox, Evernote.

    I use the BlogPress and WordPress apps to build my on-line enhancememt components and ToDo to keep it all on schedule.

    The physical act of putting words together in some semblance of order is left to yWriter on the most handy Windows device at the time…netbook, laptop, or desktop… All synched to each other and the iPad via Evernote and Dropbox.

    Oh, yeah like Maggie, it drives me crazy to write in a vacuum, so I’ve got Pandora, Awedetorium, and venerable iTunes.

  16. I am intrigued by this USB adapter of which you speak. No USB port was my biggest reason for shunning iPad. Now, you make me think I should rethink.

    Could you use it to hook a flashdrive up to the iPad and transfer files back and forth?

  17. I’m really happy to see you using a large, PC-style keyboard. The Apple wireless keyboards are just too tiny. I have one here at Maiden Media. I keep having Will Smith in “Men In Black” moments: “I feel like I’m gonna break this damn thing!”

    I’m keeping my eyes peeled mostly for iPad alternatives, tablets or netbook-tablet hybrids that will facilitate writing and possibly light code work from anywhere, be it on the train or in some remote forested glen. Asus has a couple candidates, but they don’t seem all that cheaper than the iPad itself.

  18. I just had this conversation about the iPad two days ago. I personally prefer the iPod Touch. I use it for everything. When I write on my laptop I refuse to open the inter-net browser because I know I will get distracted so anything I have to look up I use the iPod Touch. I get the answers I need immediately without any of the distracting extras and I can leave my writing space and slide it into my pocket for when it’s time to run off and get the Wee Ones. I found out once I had my little ones the more compact the device the better. Between diaper bags, strollers, carriers, blankets and binky’s there is no extra space.

    I have written chapters on it at the gym, while sitting outside the school waiting for the little one’s, and at family gatherings while everyone else was fighting amongst them selves. It’s great! It also plays Dora and Transformers so it has saved my sanity on many occasions.

  19. I was skeptical about the iPad’s benefits for writers at first. But now I’m in love with it. I have turned off all push notifications so I have no idea when I get a new email or tweet, etc. It’s amazing how easy it is to focus without all the tabs and dings and other distractions on my laptop. I’ve been using Pages to write and iAnnotate for editing. I keep my storyboard with me through Index Card and that syncs with Scrivener on my laptop. I bought the Apple wireless keyboard for ease of typing. It’s light for easy portability and my fingers fly across it because it’s very similar to my laptop keyboard. I doubt I’d ever write a novel solely on the iPad, but it’s really easy to transfer the pages I write on it via Dropbox. I just took my iPad and keyboard with me to L.A. instead of my laptop and it’s a perfect travel solution.

    • @Jaye:

      Word to that. When we went to CA and HI in the fall, I took the iPad only, no laptop. So glad I did, too.

      Laptops are slowly becoming a thing of the past, says me in dramatic and probably untrue fashion.

      — c.

  20. We use iAWriter as our writing app, mainly because they add an additional row of keys above the iPad’s built in touchpad, with quotation marks, apostrophes, and arrow keys on it.

    Still, it’s so easy for me to hit that home button and switch to the Twitter app when I hit a rough patch that I stick with my laptop and Freedom.

  21. Crap. I forgot to say: Scrivener does have a learning curve attached (and there’s one or two things that don’t work the way I want them to–or I don’t know how to make them work) but it’s what I use now. I really like it.

  22. I love my iPad for first drafts — I wrote the majority of my last two books on mine. My Apple wireless keyboard (LOVE – use for working on my MacBook, too — much better keyboard) connects via bluetooth, and I’m off and running.

    I use Pages to compose the scenes I’m working on, and at the end of the day (I do a lot of first-draft writing at cafes), I hit Email as Word Doc — it lands in my email, and when I get home I just dump it into the work-in-progress Word .doc.

    For revision, I find I need to be moused and hooked up to the MacBook, so I tend to stay closer to home then. But while I bought the iPad because I’m a sucker for gadgets, I’ve used it for actual work more than anything else (and watching Netflix streaming from bed when sick is a genius, wonderful thing).

  23. Marco wrote:
    “…If I had to pair it with an external keyboard, I’d use my itty-bitty Apple Bluetooth keyboard, but I find that having to tote that one around as well just destroys the portability and ease of use of the iPad…”

    I’m writing this comment on my iPad, which is happily wrapped in a fold-over cover from Levenger that includes both bluetooth keyboard and stand – the whole thing look like a moleskine notebook when its closed up, and like a sleek netbook when it’s open. The cover lets it travel safely in my bag, and the incorporated stand/keyboard makes it 100% portable/functional.

    I haven’t used the iPad for writing a book or story yet – am sure I will – but I do use it for on-the-go note-taking quite a bit, jotting down interview notes, quotes, whathaveyou in Pages and then transferring them to my PC later on. I also use it quite a bit to read PDF copies of associate’s work through the iBooks reader. Very helpful, not to have to lug all those paper manuscripts around.

    And, of course, I do almost all my blog reading/news browsing on my iPad these days, over breakfast or curled up with a mug of tea before bed. Oh, yeah, and I occasionally even read books! (Although my paper TBR pile still vastly outnumbers my digital one, and I’m trying to exercise *some* restraint in adding to either pile, LOL.)

  24. Correction to my previous note – it’s a *Brookstone* cover on my iPad — they call it the “Bluetooth Keyboard Portfolio” (http:/ Comes in three colors (mine is black). I love it.

  25. Literally I have almost app for app the ones you do. I use pages though as my processor. Good reader syncing with Dropbox is fantastic, as does Pages now. My only difference is my ZaggMate keyboard case I use on the go.

    Personally my prediction is the Air will eventually incorporate iPad UI and good by bulky laptops.

    Ps: got a new scotch.

  26. Yesterday morning my husband went out and bought an iPad. At lunch we sat down in front of his computer where we usually eat together and I said, “Let’s see what Chuck is going on about today!” (we like to read your blog together) and low and behold you were talking about the iPad. Awesome post Chuck!

  27. Hm. Thinking more about the ‘Pad now.

    For to-do, you might look at Remember The Milk; it does a lot of the task-management you mentioned. (

  28. I’m totally late in reading this but I just have to say that this part:

    “Sometimes, I find myself flitting from tab to tab with no certainty why I’m doing so. It’s like, I have to click them just because they’re there. This is bad when writing, of course — “Did I just end a paragraph in the middle so I could go check a weather report I’ve already checked seven times this morning?” It’s like I have a disease.”

    cracked me up so much. Are you me??? That said, awesome perspective on ipad writing, cheers!

  29. iPad for writing? It’s primitive. I get more from my old G4 PB. Only one App comes near what a writer needs: Storyist. The rest, and I’ve tried about a dozen, just get in the way. ipad is for reading- in the toilet.

  30. Index Card 4 was released today. It adds 30 New Features, including Images, Formatted Text, and a new new design. It will also export .scriv files. P.S. I need to figure out how to work “PORTABLE ANIMATRONIC BEAR PORN” into everyday conversation.

  31. Nice article man. I am happy to know that I am not the only Psychopath-Writer surfing uselessly after every paragraph and distracted even by my own fart 🙂 !! I was looking to buy iPad, so as to write on-the-go when I am hiking … Thanks for the write-up! Cheers

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