A clean, distraction-free way to compose articles.
Since I run a review website, naturally, I do a lot of writing. I will end up using my laptop quite a bit, but sometimes when I go to work remotely, it’s nice to only have my iPad or even just my iPhone in tow. And as nice and versatile as Pages is, it doesn’t work directly with WordPress or other blog editors. Therefore, I started looking for editor apps that would work across all three of the platforms as well as be compatible with WordPress. I finally found these features in iA Writer.
iA Writer is a clean, simple, distraction-free writing environment. It makes it easy for users to concentrate on nothing but the words they are typing. Even though WordPress can do the same thing, it’s a good option for when you don’t want to be or can be connected to the Internet for very long. Even though iA Writer is designed to give you a ‘distraction-free’ writing environment, you still have the ability to embed links, pictures, tables, and text files within the plain text and then see them in preview mode.
- Focus Mode: Dims everything except the current sentence or paragraph
- Start: Write in plain text first so that you aren’t concerned about the formatting
- Light and Dark Modes: iA Writer includes an inverted light-on-dark mode
- Customize templates
- Share to WordPress or Medium or export for Word, HTML, or PDF
- Organize: Search, sort, and swap between documents from different clouds without leaving a window
Getting the iPad, iPhone, and macOS versions of iA Writer were pretty standard experience-wise. There were no problems getting them installed, but it’s important to note that they each have an individual cost — macOS $29.99 and iOS $8.99 at the time of this article. The iOS version does work with both the iPhone and iPad — You only have to pay once for the iOS version.
One of the things I noticed right away was that there is no WYSIWYG editor, which is kind of the point of iA Writer. The app provides you with kind of the opposite type of environment as WYSIWYG with the Markdown formatting style. The only way to see the formatting of your writing is to go to Preview mode. When you do that, you can’t edit your work at that point — you have to go back to the editor view, which is plain text. I don’t state this as a ‘problem’ per se, it’s just different than the way I’m used to working. With that in mind, iA Writer is really best for people who are used to working with Markdown or ready to learn it. You can format text with shortcuts like CMD + B for Bold.
One of the biggest features of iA Writer that I was interested in was the integration with WordPress. So, I connected my account and used the Share function to upload a draft to WordPress. The interesting this is that iA Writer uploads the draft to WordPress and uses JetPack to transfer that over to your actual website interface. I have included a couple of screenshots to show the difference in the interfaces. The odd thing was that from WordPress, I couldn’t ‘save’ the draft. I could only ‘Publish’ the post. When I went over to my website’s interface, the post was there as a draft. While this doesn’t specifically have to deal with the app itself, it’s important to note for the purposes of publishing content to WordPress.
I think iA Writer is an awesome way to write distraction-free. There are so many things that can get in the way of concentrating on writing these days that having a clean environment to write in becomes increasingly important for me. I really love that you can switch back and forth between light and dark modes and I love how easy it is to save a draft to WordPress. I do wish that you could edit your work in Preview mode if that was your choice, but I enjoy having the plain text environment. It makes it easy to just start writing. Finally, I especially like the fact that working between platforms is seamless. I started working on this article using the iOS version from the iPad and then switched over to my MacBook Pro. I monitored my progress on my iPhone and found that my progress was carried over to each platform in real-time. I believe the investment in the macOS and iOS versions of this app is worth it if you are looking for an easy way to write without distractions.