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Scrivener, Dropbox, Elements and an improved process for the iPad

When I am at home in my office, I do all of my fiction-writing on my MacBook using Scrivener. It used to be that when I was away from my office, I took my laptop with me, but after getting my iPad last spring, I decided to leave the laptop at home and do my writing on the iPad. The trick was, how best to sync my Scrivener projects with my iPad.

For a while, I synced my Scrivener projects with SimpleNote, which had a nice app for the iPad. But over time, I found three problems with the process:

  1. SimpleNote didn’t have the clean screen editing I was looking for. It’s maximum font size was too small for me.
  2. The way the files are organized is a bit confusing.
  3. SimpleNote’s cloud system is proprietary for its editor.

Maybe it’s just me, but I felt there could be improvements in the process. So I went about looking for a really good text editor for the iPad and what I came up with after a fairly exhaustive search was Elements by Second Gear. Elements has the font sizes I want, the clean screen look to it, and it synchronizes with Dropbox–which means I can make it sync seamlessly with Scrivener.

Why is font size so important to me?

When I write on the iPad, I use an external BlueTooth keyboard–the very same keyboard I use when writing on my MacBook. This is so that the feel of writing is the same, even if the screens are different. But I am also more comfortable if the iPad isn’t sitting right in my face. I like setting it back a bit, and it helps to have  font size that I can still read easily while I work.

Having just returned from a 10-day vacation in which I wrote using nothing but my iPad, I thought I’d share the process in case anyone else was interested. Here’s what I did:

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