Why is distraction-free writing getting popular?

If you write a lot, which we bet you do, on Mac/iOS, there is a great chance that you came across a writing app called Ulysses at one time or another. In fact, you may already joined its fan club.

We tip our hat to Ulysses: It might not be the app that created the distraction-free minimalist writing environment in the first place, but it must be the most outstanding one of them on Mac/iOS.

To create a distraction-free writing environment, the text editor or writing app needs to be equipped with the following key elements:

  1. Mouse is used as little as possible and there is no need for you to lift your fingers from the keyboard – It keeps you from distractions such as adjusting the text format.
  2. Defines text with simple markups rather than with formats – This is how you won’t be distributed by deciding what format to choose for your content.
  3. Content is the only thing that should be left on the screen – No windows, no tabs, no menus, no status bar….. If it’s not content related, it shouldn’t be there.
  4. Saves automatically & instantly and there better be no files or folders – You don’t deserve to start your writing by creating a file name first, nor witness your work going down the drain just because you forget to hit save every 5 minutes.
  5. Supports dark mode theme – So you can immerse yourself in writing at night without fatiguing your eyes.

Such a writing environment sure will boost your productivity. Who wouldn’t say yes to higher efficiency?

No wonder writing apps or editors such as Ulysses are getting more popular than ever. But it’s such a pity that developers for Ulysses haven’t created Ulysses for Windows, and they even claimed that they will never consider a Windows version of Ulysses. Too bad for its die-hard fans.

But those days are gone. Inspire Writer fills the blank. It creates the distraction-free writing environment on Windows, just so you can write elegant. Everything you want to see in a distraction-free editor, you can find it on Inspire.

Why Markdown

Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax. It enables you to write with a light, easy markup language. Compared with WYSIWYG editors such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, a markdown editor is unique in its own ways:

It separates text attributes from formats

When you’re writing in a WYSIWYG editor like Word, you need to write and constantly set format for your writing at the same time.

For instance, after you type out the title for your work, you need to get it selected and change its format – enlarge it, make it bold and/or make it align center, so you and your readers will know that this is the title, not something else.

You may also need a template to unify all your writing. In this case, you have to select the text that is supposed to be the title and set its format as “Heading”, so the text will be enlarged, bold, and/or aligned center.

Markdown handles things differently.

You add a # (hashtag) before you type out the title, and you define it as a heading. In other words, text format is the last thing you should worry about when writing with markdown.

When you are at the last stage of your creation, i.e. when you export your work, the style you define for your work will grant it related formats by its attributes.

For example, when you export your work to WP Twenty Sixteen in Inspire Writer, you’ll see the heading aligned left:

When you choose to export as Georgia, you’ll see it aligned center:

That is to say, markdown defines WHAT the text is, not HOW it is.

Simply put, the text format, or render, should be decided at the final stage, by your text attributes and the style you choose. It’s not what something you should, or have to worry about when you’re writing.

That said, markdown creates a distraction-free writing environment where you won’t be disturbed by what format to choose. Say goodbye to the mouse, keep your fingers stay on top of the keyboard and make your writing flow.

It transfers your work to HTML in a better way

There is no doubt that writing nowadays can’t walk far away from HTML: Your work will eventually shows up as HTML one way or another.

Have you ever tried to transfer the .DOCX file you composed with Word to an HTML file? If you have, and you’ve read its source file, you’d be appalled to see how many garbage it contains.

But work written with markdown is totally another story.

Your work will be transferred to clean, light HTML files. These are the types of HTML files that you need. For instance, you can put them directly onto your personal website.

Moreover, if your website is built on WordPress, you can hit the publish button in Inspire, and your work will be published to your site with just this one single click.

It transfers your work into formats of various kinds

Inspire Writer can easily transfer your work into formats you would normally use: HTML as we mentioned, TXT, RFT, PDF and DOCX document for Word, you name it.

You can also export your work to a common markdown (.MD) file, so you can publish it to platforms such as GitHub.

It is true that the markup language for Inspire Writer is a bit different from that of the common markdown. But believe me, the former is so much easier than the latter.

BTW, this article is written with and published by Inspire Writer. 🙂

FAQ

You ask, and we answer. If you don’t find the answer here, feel free to let us know.

Can you see what I’m writing?

No.

Your groups and sheets are encrypted and stored on your local PC. We don’t have access to any of your writing. You are the only one that has access to it.

Introduction

Keyboard Shortcuts

Basic Operations

  • Ctrl+G for creating a new group
  • Ctrl+N for creating a new sheet

Views and Navigation

  • Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3 for switching views
  • Ctrl+↓/↑ for navigating between the sheets
  • Ctrl+8 to show the Navigator

Inspire Markup Language

  • Ctrl+B for strong
  • Ctrl+I for emphasize
  • Ctrl+K for link
  • Ctrl+M for image
  • Ctrl+L for clearing Markup
  • Ctrl+H for increasing heading level
  • Ctrl+9 to show the Markup Bar

Frequently Used Features

  • Ctrl+6 to show Export
  • Ctrl+7 to show Statistics
  • Ctrl+R for Preview

Introduction

Backup and Restore

Inspire automatically save all you writing, so there’s no save button. Auto-save plus cloud sync, you’ll never have to worry about losing any of your writing.

To restore your content:

Choose a Backup Location

  1. Go to File › Preferences › Backup
  2. Select the location where you want your backups to be stored.
  3. Click OK.

Restore from a Backup

  1. Go to File › Browse Backups
  2. Double-click the backup file you want to restore.
  3. Follow the instructions.

Introduction

Export

No matter what you write and who you write to, flexible export formats in Inspire gets you all covered.

Export Formats

You can export your Inspire sheet to whatever format you want, PDF, DOCX, HTML, MD, TXT, you name it.

You can do so via File › Export…. Or the export button () on the left of the editor. Then select the file format and preview your export.

If you want to share your work with friends who also use Inspire, just export your sheet as “InspireSheet“. Your friends can import them into Inspire as it is, i.e. with the same styles and all.

Export to WordPress

You can also write your stories with Inspire and directly publish your work to WordPress from within the app. To do so, you need to add your WordPress account via File › Preferences.

  • In “Preferences”, tap “Accounts” and click the “+” button.


  • Add your WordPress account information. Click “Log In“.

There you go, all set and ready to go!

Introduction

Cloud Sync

Cloud sync allow you to seamlessly sync and share files among multiple PCs with public cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and many more.

Just specify the folder where your cloud sync service locates in Preferences:

Repeat the step on your other PCs.

Ta-da! Your copies of Inspire should then sync with one another.

Now you can write on different PCs and have them all at one place.

Introduction

Efficient Writing

Inspire markup language is a super simple way to add formatting to text by using special characters around them, such as for bold text, so you can define them. It drives up your workflow, whether you’re writing a blog or a novel.

It takes only few minutes to learn. Once you master it, you’ll never want to write in any other way.

Tutorial

To make headers, preface the phrase with hash marks (or use Ctrl+H). The number of hash marks indicates the level of the heading. For example:

# Header One

## Header Two

### Header Three

To **make a phrase bold** (make a phrase bold), surround words with two asterisks (or use Ctrl+B).

To _make a phrase italic_ (make a phrase italic), surround words with an underscore (or use Ctrl+I).

To create an unordered list, preface each item in the list with a minus sign.
- Item 1
- Item 2
- Item 3

  • Item 1
  • Item 2
  • Item 3

To create an ordered list, preface with numbers.
1. Item 1
2. Item 2
3. Item 3

  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3

>To create a block quote, preface a line with the "greater than" caret.

To create a block quote, preface a line with the “greater than” caret.

To make a divider, type 4 hyphens in a row.
----


Escape Character

Some characters are automatically interpreted as part of the markup formatting. Inserting a backslash before them to indicate they should not be interpreted as format.
>A block quote

A block quote

\> Not a block quote

Link, Image and Footnote

To create a link, wrap the link text in brackets (or use Ctrl+K).

To insert an image, type (img) (or use Ctrl+M).

To add a footnote, type (fn).

More Definitions

All definitions can be seen via the button (or use Ctrl+9).

Introduction

Before we begin…

Let’s ease you into the basic UI of Inspire. Some names might be new to you, but once you get the hang of them, your productivity would be greatly enhanced. After all, you focusing on the content is what really matters here in Inspire.

Library, Sheet List & Editor

There are 3 main views in Inspire from left to right:

  • Library
  • Sheet List
  • Editor

Basic Navigation

You can switch views via the button on the bottom left corner of the editor, or use Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3.

Library & Groups

The Library holds everything you’ll ever write. It’s like a Windows Folder. If you write a lot, just as what we assume you’d do, groups are the main tool to keep you organized.

You can add groups via the File › New Group… menu or right click an existing folder. You can create groups inside a group except the Inbox group. If you select a group in the library, its contents will show up in the sheet list. Select a sheet, and it shows up in the editor. You get the rest.

You can add locks to your groups if you don’t want others to read what’s in it. Simply by right-clicking the target group, then click Lock, you’re creating a group only you can access.

Sheet List

All writing is done on Inspire’s sheets. Sheets are similar to documents or files.

You can create sheets via File › New Sheet menu or the new sheet button () on the top of the sheet list. The new sheet will be created in the selected group.

You can freely move sheets around and sort them at will in a group if the group is set to “Sort Manually“.

While editing your sheets, you don’t need to save them manually. It’s fully automatic.

Editor

We firmly believe that writing is all about focusing on the content. Presentation and layouts should never stand in the way of content creation. And Editor is where all the best things happen:

  • You don’t need a title or a file name;
  • Your writings are automatically saved as you write;
  • You just need minimal markup to define your text;
  • Your fingers can stay firmly planted on the keyboard as you apply formatting on the fly, which saves you lots of time and help you focus on your writing.

If you want to know more about Inspire markup, head to Efficient Writing.

Navigation, Statistics & Export in Editor

  • Navigate your writing via the button (or use Ctrl+8);
  • Statistics is reachable via the button, including characters, sentences, paragraphs, etc. (or use Ctrl+7)
  • Export your writings via the button (or use Ctrl+6). Export options include PDF, DOCX, HTML, Text, and more.

Introduction