Novelists, journalists, academics, screenwriters – all kinds of authors are using Ulysses for their writing. We asked some of them to share their story. In this post, sociologist R.J. Leamaster explains how he uses Ulysses for academic writing.

Please tell us something about you: Who are you, what is your profession and what are you working on?

I am a PhD candidate in sociology preparing to start at my first faculty position in August. Right now, I am working on my dissertation and a couple of unfinished manuscripts. I also have the beginnings of a novel sitting in a Ulysses that I hope to start working on again at some point in the future. I am married with three kids and love to spend time with my family doing outdoor activities. I also love sports, especially basketball and American football.

Which role does writing play in your professional life? What are you writing and how much?

Writing plays an important role in my professional life. I write mostly academic articles, course papers and, of course, my dissertation. As far as how much I write, my dissertation is the length of a short book, and the articles and course papers I write are around 30 to 40 pages each. I try to write at least a little each day and at certain points, most of my time is spent writing.

I also used Ulysses for my freelance work as a Mac and iOS app reviewer.

Could you describe what you use Ulysses for?

I use Ulysses for pretty much every aspect of writing up to the point of getting the first draft out to my collaborators (for manuscripts where I am the first author). This includes writing notes and memos, storing text from articles on the web, outlining, brainstorming, and actually writing out the first draft. After I export the first draft, I normally use Pages to collaborate on future drafts.

Why did you choose Ulysses? What are the benefits of Ulysses for your kind of writing?

I chose Ulysses III because it provides a flexible set of tools for organizing longer, complex documents, while still helping writers focus on the text. For example, all of my dissertation memos, notes, and early drafts are in a group titled Dissertation in Ulysses. This makes it very easy to access reference material while I am writing, especially with the Quick Open feature. Ulysses’ sheets concept is also very helpful for the organization of manuscripts. I like to make each sheet a different section of the manuscript — this helps outline the manuscript and makes navigating the manuscript very simple.

What do you like best about Ulysses? Do you have a favorite feature?

Wow, this is a hard question! I would have to say that the ability to have a great deal of control over my writing environment is the thing I like most about Ulysses. From the ability to choose how many window panes to display, to choosing the minute details of the theme, to choosing the font really helps put me in the writing frame of mind.

I also love Markdown XL.
I annotate my drafts like crazy

I also love Markdown XL. I annotate my drafts like crazy, then, when I am ready to export, I can choose to include the annotations or not.

Attaching notes to sheets is also a very valuable feature. If I have a random thought about a section of the manuscript I am writing, or want to have a quote around for reference, I attach a note to the sheet – so its there when I need it.

Some weeks have passed since R.J. answered the above questions. In the meantime, he successfully defended his dissertation dealing with gender inequality in religious institutions and started his first faculty position. Visit his profile page to learn more.