The Ultimate Posture Agnostic Writing Workflow

Well...why I like my Apple Pencil anyway

July 18, 2017 | Leave a comment

I packed an iPad mini for over 4 years, from the week they rolled out until earlier this summer. Now, I’m lugging around the smaller format iPad Pro. (Lugging may not be the most generous term… my feels for this thing fall just a tad short of adoration.) There are trade-offs with the size, but the delights of working with the iPad Pro diminish the heft.

One particular delight, that I didn’t so much expect, has emerged for me – handwriting. I fancy writing by hand a romantic, long lost art. I respect and admire people who do it. I confident they are better people than me and productive members of society. I’ve seen allusions to studies that say handwriting works your brain, and therefore your creativity, from different angles.

I just haven’t had the patience for it.

I’ve been clacking keys since my 9th grade typing class on things called typewriters. It might be the most important skill I learned in that building we used to call a Junior High. And when I want to get words out, I know the keys will get them to the screen.

Typed words can be stored and shared and searched. Digital text moves around easier than ink. I’m keen on finding thoughts I’ve stashed, whether mine or others, for later use, so I’ve long been taking digital notes.

But the shortcoming to the iPad, for me, has always been an ability to capture words when I’m anywhere but at a table or desk. My body’s most natural state is slumped (or reclined if I want to be kind in my self description). It’s not the easiest posture in which to get words into an iPad, so, ideas often seem too much trouble to capture in a moment, let alone paragraphs or sentences. One of my original hopes for the iPad Mini was that it made thumb typing more accessible for my prone moments, er, hours. Even that had just enough tedium to discourage it, though.

But the iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil changes my game. Particularly, some key apps with said hardware are the primary all-stars

First off, I love being able to handwrite words into the normal typing area using MyScript Stylus. Whether reclined or with the iPad sitting on a table beside a book, one hand is all I need to get some words down. It’s not perfect, as the screenshot below shows, but it works well enough to snag the idea.

Then, there is the cousin of Stylus – MyScript Nebo. (See screenshot below.) Rather than a keyboard replacement, this app let’s you write on the screen and converts it to text on the fly. The handwritten pages can be saved in a notebook, or you can share the converted text into other apps.

I’ve been doing some journaling this way. I don’t yet know if I’m stretching the creative muscles in my brain, but I can say I’m building back long lost hand muscles and pushing my patience to new places. But, most of all, it’s a viable way to get some words down that is posture agnostic.

The blog reviews I’ve seen about the Apple Pencil either love the thing, or they still aren’t sure how to best use it. I’ve used mine for sketching, fiddling, and highlighting to be sure. But with MyScript’s technology, I’m getting some words down that I might not have otherwise.

July 18, 2017

I’ve known Nick for a long, time since he was a teenager, and that made this one fun. Of course, it’s been a long time since I last talked to him so that made this one all the more fun.

July 16, 2017 4:48 pm

Streamlined the color scheme around here to Angels colors. I’m thinking that should be the extra little boost they need for a second half surge into the playoffs.

July 6, 2017

Ken surprised me with a sermon prep workflow that no one else has mentioned before — dictating the first manuscript using speech recognition software. Makes so much sense since most of us have differences in in style between how we talk and how we write.

June 25, 2017 8:18 am

Neurologically speaking, boredom is also fruitful. When we’re bored, our brains can more easily transition into what’s called “divergent thinking”—to travel through all the strange rabbit holes of the overgrown gardens that are our brains. We make unusual connections. We marinate in not knowing.

June 14, 2017

I believe I had more people suggest an interview with David Guzik than any other guest I’ve had. I even had one suggestion come in an hour before we were scheduled to record.

June 4, 2017

In talking with Jorge, I found a lot of respect for how many new things are always starting around the edges of their church community. And also a great deal of respect for how he sees the role of the sermon being so closely tied to all of it.

May 15, 2017

I’m off for a three month Sabbatical from my role at Austin Mustard Seed. In my final Sunday, I shared some hopes for the time away for my self/family and for the church.

May 6, 2017

Last year, I met Josh at a conference where he was sporting a big old iPad Pro and keyboard. He proudly claimed it was his everyday device. My subconscious told me to get him on the podcast and my conscious finally got on board a year later.

April 19, 2017

Good one here. The Rev Dr Luke is the affable dean of the Duke University Chapel and a thoughtful practitioner and teacher of the sermon as an art form. He’s also written a few books on the role of lament in the sermon which were probably of great value after this past basketball season.

April 17, 2017

The high point of the year for our church and all others. And always among my easiest sermons to prepare knowing that the subject matter is simply…resurrection.

April 10, 2017

A sermon in which we enter into Holy Week. Also in which I confess that I’m not so literary, since I can’t seem to enjoy reading Flannery O’Conner.

April 7, 2017

Right after I interviewed these guys, they interviewed me. They have better mics, better radio voices and better questions. Still trying to figure out which podcast came out the winner, then, in our interview swap.

April 5, 2017

Two fellow podcasters share how podcast collaboration leads to sermon collaboration. Always intriguing, after 80+ interviews, to learn new things about how people prepare sermons.

March 21, 2017

Long walks on an Oahu beach with an iPhone to compose thoughts. You know…just your ordinary sermon prep in Hawaii.

March 20, 2017

Always a pleasure and an honor to offer the sermon for my friends across town at Vox Veniae. A reflection on the value of suffering not only during Lent but throughout the year, along with some Star Wars sentimentality. They were also far too kind to me, editing out the part when I discovered half way through the reading that I had sent the wrong Bible passage to be included on a slide.

March 6, 2017

Why Jesus is nothing like Clark Kent. And why the devil might be kind of like a squirrel in Up. And why the season of Lent is so awfully valuable.

March 1, 2017

Between scheduling conflicts, technical barriers and at least one sickness, this interview took a long time to come together. It was worth the wait.

February 23, 2017

I haven’t water skied in at least ten years, but I remember enough about it to use it as a central metaphor in this sermon. And I could probably still do it, right?

February 15, 2017

What a pleasure to have a second go around with Tara Beth Leach after her context has changed so much. I’ve spent a good amount of time reflecting on her statement that every sermon is a love letter to her congregation.