Getting a glimpse behind-the-scenes of other writers’ process is like porn to me. I love seeing their notes. Their typewriter. Their computer. Their Word doc. Their outlines. The beautiful mess of the first draft.

When JK Rowling released her handwritten spreadsheet for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I nearly fainted. I’ve never read a James Patterson novel, but I clung to every word of his Masterclass, hungry for the details of how he worked.

My website analytics tell me I’m not alone. Among the most popular articles on my blog:

Clearly, I’m not the only one who loves glimpses into the writing process. For my fellow addicts, here’s a screenshot of my writing app, in action.

I do all of my writing in Ulysses. Books. Blog posts. Everything. Below is a screenshot of my writing environment. You can click the image to make it larger.

Screenshot of Ulysses writing app.
Yours for Always and To Sir with Love are my works in progress, which is why they’re at the top, with colorful icons. However, I’m not yet ready to show those works to the world, so this is Ulysses opened to the first draft of the previously published Walk of Shame.

For those wondering what the hell is happening with the colors, the asterisks, and the pound signs, Ulysses utilizes markdown syntax. That’s a geeky way of saying it allows you to implement chapter headings and italicized text, but prevents all that janky formatting cruft that often comes when working in something like Microsoft Word. Ulysses allows you to choose color themes to assign various formatting a color.

It looks scary, but believe it or not, the beauty of Markdown is the sheer lightweight simplicity that allows you to focus on words, not formatting.

what my writing app looks like