Tools of My Trade: Day 3 PlainText

When last I left you yesterday, I was in the air somewhere between NY and Chicago, about to work on my WiP when I discovered I couldn’t access CloudOn or  any of my Dropbox files because I had no internet connection. It wasn’t a huge deal. I was planning on writing a new scene so I just opened my next featured tool–the free PlainText app, which I had previously installed on the iPad. During the plane ride I wrote 1500 words in this useful app.

PlainText saves documents automatically and locally, until it syncs to the PlainText folder that is in Dropbox once there is an internet connection again. So I wrote offline, then later I copied what I’d written in Plain Text and pasted it into my existing WiP document in Dropbox on my Mac.

Note: PlainText only edits Word documents that are in the folder synced with PlainText in Dropbox, while yesterday’s tool, CloudOn, allows you access to all the Word docs (and also Excel files) on Dropbox in any folder but alas only if you have internet. I suppose ahead of time I can put anything I’d like to work on offline in the PlainText folder before I leave on a trip, but I can’t put too many files in there because the iPad has limited storage. And anything I create in PlainText doesn’t really have any formatting. It looks like docs you’d create in TextEdit on a computer. I don’t know what editing a formatted Word Doc in PlainText would do to the formatting. I suppose I need to try. I’m still figuring all this stuff out. But PlainText is a useful app and it’s free, so give it a go.

It also functions great for note taking. When the laptop is put away for the night and I’m trying to enjoy watching some bull riding on television, I find myself reaching for the iPad and opening up my PlainText document named “Title Ideas”. In there are notes on any bull riders’ names I might want to use for a future hero, or words or phrases I hear during the broadcast that I think will make the good title for a future book.

A writer’s work is never done!


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