NaNoWriMo October Prep & Looking For Ulysses Replacement

Stars ink your fingers
with a lexicon of flame
blazing rare knowledge.
― AberjhaniThe River of Winged Dreams



Autumn has come and it means that there are 10+ days left until the day of NaNoWriMo writing challenge. In case you guys didn’t know, NaNoWriMo is a month where writers (read: everyone who you know, write) all over the world going crazy to complete a novel minimum of 50,000 words in a month and if you don’t,

You’ll be killed.


Nah, I’m kidding. Obviously.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.

Actually, I joined NaNoWriMo last year in a hope to at least finish one of my writing projects only to failed miserably with a word count no more than 8,000 words.

In my defense, I went into NaNoWriMo last year completely blind – without any set of proper plan nor outline. I know some people who could write amazing pieces that just flowing together without making any plot and scene outlines but nah, that kind of method obviously didn’t work for me. I need to have a plan. If I don’t I would just idly wait in from of my screen staring into the abyss and ended up not writing anything.


BUT, this year is going to be different.

I have some sort of a plan – theme✅, plot outline,✅ rough scenes ✅ and with these, I would conquer NaNoWriMo.



I know that there are some controversies regarding NaNoWriMo. Rationally, writing 50,000 words in a month is not going to make you write a Shakespeare level writing but personally, I feel like the challenge is great because I

  • Have always wanted to write and finish a book but don’t have the motivation to do so.
  • Want to establish a writing routine that you could follow for a long time.
  • In a massive writer’s block and need to get rid of it asap.



Anyway, my favourite distraction-free writing app – Ulysses, just announced in August (I just found out yesterday *lame Rasya lame* after reading the developer’s post on Medium) that they would go into subscription per month route instead of one payment per lifetime that they promised the users’ before. As someone who has used Ulysses for two years, I’m frankly disappointed. I wouldn’t feel this bitter and more understanding if at least, they send me an Email or something but no – the developers just decided to change it into monthly subscription rates because updates are not free and the developers need to eat.

#INeedToEatTooYouKnow #HowCouldYouDoThisToMe

So now, I’m looking for Ulysses replacement but my only best bet, Scrivener looks extremely ugly and complicated. Sob. I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I just couldn’t pass through the ugliness. Plus, the app itself looks more suitable towards serious authors who write dozens of novels and not me, someone wanting a writing app that is simple but still looks beautiful for journaling and writing blog posts and short stories.


How Ulysses interface looks like

I’ve tried using IA Writer, Bear, Shaxpir, Write and Storyist but seems like no app can tops Ulysses for now. Maybe I’m just too invested in using Ulysses that any other writing apps that I used afterwards don’t feel the same. It sucks because I don’t mind paying a subscription fee but who knows if Ulysses decided to go Evernote’s route and decided to raise the price in the future. I guess I should just stick to Pages or Word for now.

So, do any of you plan to participate in NaNoWriMo writing challenge this year? And If you don’t, do you have any writing app that you use to write or you just the normal word processor?

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  1. I live for your choices of gifs. It makes the post so much entertaining. When I knew nanowrimo should be 50k words I’m just like, maybe next year. Lol. I’ve been trying some writing apps too and can’t found good ones. So I’m frankly disappointed knowing Ulysses is your choice but not really a choice now. life~


    1. Hahaha. 50k words are really a huge number to write so I could understand. I felt that the subscription move from Ulysses is a bit ehh, that’s not how you do business but there are a lot of alternatives out there so I just need to look hard enough.

  2. Best of luck for NaNoWriMo this year! 🙂 I am just like you – I need some preparation, I at least need some kind of plan in order to get started and for it to work. Otherwise, I’m just lost and I don’t know where I’m going or how to get the words out 😅 I’m not a massive planner, I’m not doing gigantic outlines or something, but having rough ideas of everything really helps me 🙂
    I don’t use any writing app, I just write on my Word doc 🙂

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