Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blogging for writers - Blogsy

Sketchbooks are so much easier!

It's a couple of years since I bought an iPad. I love it; use it every day. The iPad's great for emails, basic web browsing and terrible for the impulse purchasing of books! In practice, Dylan shares it with me and there's often a tussle between us - or rather between the Times Crossword and his latest game - guess who wins most?

But for all I'm a fan of the iPad, I seldom use it for blogging. In large part that's because I write slowly and not on the move, but it's also because the blogging applications are still not great. The leading one is possibly Blogsy, and I'm using it to draft this post.

Like most apps, Blogsy has improved over time, and considering I only paid £2.00 for the original version I cant complain at the value. It can handle photos with a simple drag and drop; it offers headers and font families, it has most of the fancy formatting you'd expect. There's an editing function too - you can work offline and store almost any number of blogs. Theoretically, the only downside should be working on a small screen with a limited keyboard.

In practice it's more of a fiddle than that...

The photo above has no particular relevance, except its taken me three attempts to place, and I still can't figure how to download another from Picassa. If I took the trouble to watch the online video tutorials it would no doubt be simple, but frankly, that's a time consuming fiddle too.

Perhaps a good way of exploring Blogsy's features would be to set up a private blog and use trail and error. That way, if I messed up it wouldn't matter, and being serious for a moment that's important for writers. Aside from losing your work, the last thing you want is to be fighting the technology or posting 'blind' with no idea how to correct your mistakes.

I'm going to persevere and try a few more post on Blogsy over the next few weeks. It will be interesting if you can spot them. Already I can do italics, and bold - I can even cross words out  and make lists, like this one...
  1. Must stop playing with the features.
  2. How do I turn this off?
  3. Where's the instructions when you need 'em?
Phew, that's better..

You'll have picked up that Blogsy isn't as intuitive as I'd like. But even if I were to get the hang of the features I suspect it's best for more casual blogs than the Bike Shed, such as posting a photo diary, or those travelling light. Next week I'm stuck working in a hotel - if I can sneak the iPad from Dylan I might try a post or two from there.

Some writers I know can't work without a notepad and pen - the physical act of recording by hand is important for their process. Increasingly I prefer writing on screen, and I use a variety of digital tools to record and save ideas. I'll write about these another time, but for now, I'm going to schedule this post for Tuesday - if it appears before or after, something has gone awry.  We shall see.

P.S. It did go awry - posted immediately and I had to delete it!  This is a second attempt, with some further intervention from my trusty Mac.


  1. Font might be a bit larger...please..for these older eyes )

  2. It doesn't sound attractive to me....but I take a long time to shift to anything new.
    A friend here has one and I've fiddled with it a bit but not seriously...it didn't do anything to make me want to further my aqquaintance with it.

    I'm experimenting with Wordpress....it is taking me a long time to feel at ease with it, let alone work out what bells and whistles it can offer and it does hinder composition when I am not relaxed about what is likely to happen when I press something.

  3. You always write such interesting posts, Mark. I wonder though whether there is any way you could enlarge the font on this post. I found the smaller font harder on my eyes.

    Best to you and your family.

  4. The font is TINY!! Barely readable compared to the rest of the page.

  5. I saw this in my blog reader on Sunday and wondered when it would appear. No doubt you've already spotted you need to find out how to make the text larger ;)

  6. I have to say the font size it produces is very hard on these poor old eyes, Mark. :-) I'm still a paper and en woman at times, though less and less as I blog merrily on.

    I don't have an iPad or any tablet, though I love playing with our son's, but I wouldn't have the patience to use the on-screen keyboard for more than a quick email. It's still laptop or even desktop for me.

  7. Goddamn it, another reason to covet an iPad. Like I needed another one.