I’m sharing this with the hope that it may save others a great deal of frustration and time. What I’m about to share is not specific to the apps I mention—it applies to most things that are text based. I’m sharing this although it is a bit embarrassing because I should have known better.
I’ve been using Ulysses for a while for my writing, including a rather complex long book project. Although I like Ulysses, writing in markdown (MD) is not a pleasant experience. Moreover, Ulysses lacks features that make a long complex project easier. Examples would include built in outlining features, the ability to create unlimited folders/groups, adding reference files, and many more. So, I decided to try Scrivener again—either by using an external markdown folder or the native RTF. I decided to try the latter. For three days I was pleased. The program worked well, I had more features and flexibility. Syncing with DropBox for writing on the iPad worked well—until this morning.
I was up this morning at 4:30 and spent many hours refining several chapters. Then it happened—the sync to an external folder failed. Scrivener would freeze at 11 of 97 documents and a few minutes later Scrivener froze completely. My only solution was a restart but sync would still stop working. I deleted and reinstalled Scrivener—twice. I rebooted my MBP. Nothing worked. So, I decided, to be safe, to export my files. That also would not work.
So, I ended up painsstakingly copying and pasting the chapters that were changed back into Ulysses, forcing me to redo citations, footnotes, etc. Some formatting carried over but not all of them.
This taught me a lesson that I thought I had already learned, or should have—the safest way to protect one’s work (besides the obvious backup) is to use plain text/MD so that files can be opened by nearly any editor/app.
I’m not trying to convince anyone to use a particular app or even necessarily to use plain text but perhaps my experience provides a cautionary tale for others.
I for one am now fully and unequivocally committed to plain text and using MD. You may want to consider doing so as well.
If I ever change from this commitment you have permission to shoot me!
Now, off to catch a plane….