Storytelling

Geneablogging with Ulysses

Many family historians use blogs to document the stories their research discovers. They soon discover those little stories have grown into a significant collection. After posting a story to my blog I was copy/pasting them to a Family Stories folder in Ulysses to repurpose and reuse in other storytelling projects. I say “was” because ever since Ulysses introduced their publishing feature, I’ve been writing and publishing them in Ulysses. If you are a WordPress blogger (either hosted or self-hosted), you can now take advantage of the publishing feature in the Ulysses writing platform (Mac – $44.99 & iOS – $24.99) to have your story and post it too.

Why use Ulysses? Let me count the ways:

  • all the WordPress tools (post format, categories, tags, excerpts, etc.) are available in Ulysses publishing
  • when published, all of Ulysses’ formatting features (bold, blockquote, lists, images, etc.) transform to HTML matching your blog’s style
  • Ulysses offers impressive organizational features like groups and filters to organize your growing story collection for repurposing into other family history writing projects
  • it’s easy to quickly pull out selected stories, style and export them as PDF, ePub, MS Word, HTML or plain text documents.

Best of all, since Ulysses saves my stories as plain text using the Markdown standard for formatting, I am also future-proofing my writing. Years from now, when today’s writing programs are obsolete, I will still be able to read and edit my Ulysses stories.

The stories group in Ulysses

In this example, you are looking at a selected sheet in a Stories sub-group under my Family Stories group. Within the Stories group I am using tags and filters to organize my stories. You can see some of those tags at the bottom of each sheet listed in the center column. This particular article will appear in both the Barrett and Military filters. At the very bottom of the group panel you see two other filters – Needs Work and Need Pictures. Once a story is complete, those keywords are removed.

Ulysses publish sheet
The Ulysses publish sheet

When the story is ready to publish, tapping the Share icon in the toolbar first displays a panel for choosing the blog to publish to. Once that choice is made the panel you see here appears. It offers publishing options along with fields for adding an excerpt, choosing a feature image and other familiar settings found in the WordPress online editor. I usually send them as drafts so I can preview them on the site before I publish.

Many of these stories were imported to Ulysses before the publishing feature was added. I have tagged them as published so I can easily identify which have been posted. Fortunately, Ulysses also makes it easy to bulk edit keywords. All I do is select the appropriate stories in the sheets panel, right-click and select Keywords, then add the necessary tags.

Life is good.

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