Hello! This is a review of the software called Inspire Writer, which you can find here.
I really like it! There are a few features I wish it had, but it’s a smooth, sweet programme and I love working in it.
So, why write this review? Well, I mean to get the programme by writing this. This isn’t to say I am fibbing about liking it – I do like it, otherwise I’d not have written ‘at least 400 words’ about the programme in order to get a key.
There are a few things I don’t care for. It doesn’t live in the cloud – at least not in any way I can discern, and so I can’t easily swap between this and that programme in order to work on it on other computer. I’m away from home and writing this paragraph in Dropbox paper, which feels unfaithful somehow. I do with there was a way to just have a document live in the Cloud. However, I do wonder if saving my work into dropbox would work just as well? I’ll try that now.
UPDATE: I was wrong! It DOES have cloud sync among multiple PCs! In that case, being a programme one must download and install and not just a thing that lives in the cloud is the only thing I don’t like. That isn’t a deal-breaker, of course – I just wish it had both, like Evernote. You know, where one could either use it in a browser, or install it properly.
(I recently tied Ommbits, and I was very disappointed they didn’t sync between my two computers! Oh well.)
Alternatives and Comparisons
So, Imagine seems like it’s a lot like Ulysses for the mac, which lots of people love. Typora is nice but not as pretty, and IA writer saves everything as text files, but isn’t as pretty, and is missing the lovely UI of this programme.
Other writing programmes I like are JotterPad (for Android), Ommwriter and Ommbits, FocusWriter, Notepad++, and Jarte. They’re all different enough from the goals of this programme, though, that it didn’t seem worth comparing.
Setup and Organisational Tree
I do like the way it’s set up – although I added a folder with lots of files in it, and it didn’t ‘pick up’ any of them without the files being imported specifically, which is disappointing. I am not sure how adding external folders works, but hopefully I’ll be ablet o sort that at some point. Anyway!
So. It looks like files created by this programme are saved as Markdown Files. Interesting. I don’t know what those are! It looks like, tho, that they’re their own thing? I shall have to do more testing – that is, take the file I have in there and do more Markdown to it! That might actually be the syncing that I want.
UPDATE: I learned a bit more about Markdown, and it’s a cool and easy way to add formatting to documents as one goes! WordPress uses that in it’s publishing UI, so, good stuff to know!
I do like how simple the organising is. There are things created inside the programme and outside it, it looks like. Then there is a list for every document in there, but inside the document, one can go to any part of it.
Lil stickynotes! Very cool. No idea if you can make more than one, tho This could be excellent for outlining, and also a lil home for side-thoughts so they didn’t get in the way, but were still there waiting to get to them later.
Really neat function with WordPress, but even just in-house, it’s nice to have. ADHD kids like me, take note! Tags are Helpful.
Not sure exactly this is for, besides just a reminder, but it’s neat anyway!
It lets you add more than one dictionary instead of choosing between them, which I’m sure me and ever other international kid enjoys.
There’s one thing I don’t like about this programme, and that’s the encoding of the various files. What I really, really want in a word processor – any word processor! – is to be able to grab my files and toss them anywhere I like, and open them with anything I like. I like to think that I could designate a Dropbox folder, and both JotterPad (on my fone) and this programme would both have the same things showing up in them, and I could work on both of them because everything’s just stored in .txt (or maybe .md) files. As far as I can tell, Inspire Writer doesn’t do that, and there’s no way to make it do that – everything’s in a folder named with strings of numbers.
IA writer does do this, and it’s very cool – I even tested it, and the files showed up in JotterPad and in it, no problem. So that’s real cool. I have thought about swapping to IA writer before of this, but honestly, I really prefer the way Inspire Writer is set up, and the way it looks, and the way it publishes things to WordPress. Also, I can import the txt files from Jotterpad easily enough, and then they’re all cosy in here, so I’ll wait and see how much back-and-forth there is between the two before this is a big deal. It may be I don’t need the two programmes to sync at all and if that’s the case, the lack of txt files might just be a wistful sadness and not a dealbreaker at all.
A E S T H E T I C
I really like the look of it! It doesn’t have lots of lovely backgrounds like FocusWriter, but it IS simple and lovely. I haven’t really explored the font options, I’ll have to do that in the future. I somewhat wish there was a way to colour the background as I liked: a soft parchment colour, or gentle blues or violets would go a long way to making the app that much more relaxing and leading to focus, but I understand that’s not their priority and that’s totally fine.
I do notice that it has the tiny numbers on the side, like in a lot of code processors like Notepad++ (which I also really like) and I imagine that’s helpful for lots of folks.
I also VERY much like how the tools one needs are tucked at the side of the main writing area, pale grey and out of the way, but still there if one wants to use them. That’s quite nice. One gives an outline of the document, based on the Markdown. One gives Info.
Then adding in Attachments.
Then Exporting – which it will do in lots of ways, by the by! Including to Medium and to WordPress – which is part of the reason I looked into Ullysses, and THEN rejoiced to find Inspire Writer! Being able to publish from my computer and not within word press gives me peace of mind, being able to do it from a focused, distraction-free programme feels ever better!
On the bottom, there’s a Markdown helper in case one is still learning all the little codes, and a standard max/minimise one, and then an icon to shuffle all the other stuff at the side away. It’s so helpful, and clean and nice!
There aren’t many fonts, but the ones there are are clear, and easy on the eyes. There is even a monospace font,. Fancy! And if you must choose your own font, you can do that too. So there’s hope for those of us still in love with the Goudy family.
All in all, I very much like this! My main issues are the lack of plaintext storage, I would very much like that – but it looks like something very like can be done by creating documents in an added folder though their Markdown files and not txt. So, that’s nice. Being able to sync and swap between fone and puter would be SO nice and for some folks, necessary. I don’t know if it’s necessary for me right now – and with the extra niceness of uploading to WordPress and the delightful, simple aesthetics of the design, I really hope I don’t have to switch.
I would really like if there were a way to access one’s files in the browser when away, like Dropbox and Evernote can do.
Another thing I really really love – and I have to mention this, because it was SO attractive – is that they let one get a license for the product by writing a review, as I have just done! I live in poverty, but I want to create. Being able to earn creative tools with my effort and time, instead of money, feels wholesome and real and good. It’s the only way I was able to try out and earn this programme, and providing that option gives the impression that the designers feel strongly about being able to serve all writers at every income level. Bartering feels good!
So, thank you, Inspire Writer!