Seamless Writing With Simplenote

It’s National Novel Writing Month once again, time to challenge yourself to write 50000 words in 30 days, no easy feat! But with your Android device by your side, you can keep working on your novel or non-fiction book anywhere and anytime. Throughout this week, we’ll share our best apps, thoughts, and tips to help you achieve that writing goal.

When you think about it, your Android is actually the perfect writing device. It’s small, portable, lightweight and fast – and when paired with Simplenote, it becomes that bit more amazing!

As a writer, I like to get in some words whenever I have free time during the day. Unfortunately, I can’t bring my laptop or tablet with me everywhere I go – but I can bring my phone. So when I began looking into ways to be keep my writing seamless between my three devices, Simplenote stood out above all others. Read on to find out how you too can have a seamless writing experience via Simplenote.


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What is Simplenote?

For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of using Simplenote, the only way I can really explain it is as super fast, super awesome text synchronisation. The service is free, with pro accounts available as an option, and signing up is quick and simple. There are no pesky profile options to fill out, no annoying newsletters to unsubscribe from – nothing! And best of all, most users will be happy with the free option — the pro features will only appeal to power users.

Simplenote keeps all of your notes accessible on the web, but also offers an API that developers have used to make powerful and efficient clients for a variety of platforms.

Desktop Client (Windows)

One of the best things about Simplenote is how it seamlessly works between all of your platforms. As a Windows user, I’ll be focusing on ResophNotes, which is currently the best client for Windows by a long shot.

ResophNotes embodies the spirit of Simplenote in its design – it is as simple as they come. On top of the window you have a list of all your notes, and underneath is the content included in the notes.

ResophNotes for Windows

If you want, you can run ResophNotes in the background where it will discretely synchronize notes and stay ready to be brought up with a custom keystroke. This can prove invaluable for a writer mainly because it’s impossible to predict when inspiration will strike.

Desktop Client (Mac)

Mac users are much more spoiled for choice when it comes to Simplenote clients. However, the most popular client by a stride is Notational Velocity.

Notational Velocity for Mac

Notational Velocity, like other Simplenote clients, is a very minimal and clean app. It’s quick, speedy, not bogged down by unnecessary features and most importantly, allows you to get to writing efficiently. As someone who spends a lot of their time in Windows, I was blown away by the selection of clients available on the Mac – so if you aren’t feeling the love with Notational Velocity, a quick search on the Mac App Store should turn up a lot more clients, and hopefully, one of them will suit your needs.

Flick Note for Android

We wouldn’t be talking about Simplenote if it wasn’t also easily accessible on Android. The star of this seamless setup is Flick Note for Android. When I began my search for a Simplenote client for Android, several months ago, I came across a lot of interesting options and so naturally, I tried them all. But even though there were clients jammed with features and ones that took minimal to a whole new level, I kept finding reverting back to Flick Note.

Personally, I think it has hit the perfect chord between minimalism and options. It has just the right amount of features to get your work done, and just the right amount of simplicity to ensure that you aren’t distracted by shiny —albeit mostly useless — features. You probably have noticed that Flick Note’s interface isn’t exactly the prettiest – but trust me, when you just want an app for writing, nothing beats a distraction-free environment.

The main screen

Flick Note contains a good amount of options, and most users should find that they can fine-tune it to their tastes. For example, you can change the font of your notes, the Holo theme to a black one, and even apply your own custom themes!

Holo Dark theme

Setting up Flick Note is extremely easy – just tap on Preferences then Accounts. From here, you will be prompted to add your existing Simplenote account. Once you’ve completed this step, you’re good – simple, wasn’t it? Your previous notes will start synchnorising right away  and within minutes Flick Notes will be ready to go.

Creating notes from within the app is also quite simple as it only involves tapping the ‘Plus’ symbol in the top right hand corner. You will be sent into the editor screen. At first, you might wonder how your going to organise or format your writing with such little options on display, but Simplenote uses a great system to deal with this – Markdown.

The editor screen: your first line is the document’s title

Markdown

Markdown is the language supported by Simplenote for text formatting. By now, you’re probably wondering why you would need to learn a whole new language just to format some words. Well, let me put this way to you, Markdown is probably one of the easiest languages to learn out there – and it really does make all the difference in your writing.

When I say Markdown is easy to learn, trust me, because I really mean it. Most people will be able to pick up the fundamentals of it within ten minutes and after using it for several weeks, it will probably come naturally to them. I use this great guide to the syntax supported in Markdown to refresh my memory on some of the more obscure commands, and to learn new commands that I think might come in handy someday.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has helped you build the perfect writing experience. Whether you’re on your computer, phone, tablet, or you’re using some public computer and simply have access to the browser, all of your writing should be available to you thanks to Simplenote. The speed and simplicity of the service is really the icing on the cake in this setup, and most — if not all — writers will probably come to wonder how they ever wrote without it.


  • Guthrie

    On Android, the app you’re looking for is Notational Acceleration, in homage to the well known Mac software if similar name. Accept no holo covered substitutes, it is the best client on the platform.

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