'Why I'm Writing On the iPad'

Jason Snell for Macworld, on writing using the iPad’s soft keyboard:

The changes in writing environment go beyond the act of typing. The iPad also offers a remarkable lack of distractions. When I write on my Mac I find I am endlessly checking Twitter and email and my weather station’s current conditions page and anything else I can find to distract myself from the difficult task of putting one word in front of another. On the iPad, I am more focused—and when I do finally take a break to check my email, it feels like an actual break, not a distraction.

I can’t argue with the results. Pieces I’ve been promising myself to write for weeks remain empty text files in my MacBook’s Dropbox folder, while 800-word essays sprout from my iPad in no time.

The (full-sized) iPad is truly a wonderful writing machine, to the point that I have fantasies about selling my 11-inch Air because I so often find myself reaching for the iPad to work. As Jason mentions, the iPad is just better for writing because there’s less ambient noise. You can only work in one app at a time, in full screen, so that forces you to focus on the task at hand. This sort of distraction-free environment is really conducive to writers like Jason and myself.

As for using the iPad’s virtual keyboard, my experiences are pretty much the opposite of Jason’s. I can bang out an email or two or even a short blog post in Poster, but I work much better on a physical keyboard. I can only dream of ttyping 120 words per minute, as my lack of full dexterity hinder my typing skills. Thus, my iPad + Origami rig is a must for me.