A. Burroughs on iA Writer
Published on in Writer
I wasn’t expecting this. In three weeks, we’ve sold over 13,000 apps and every day we seem to climb up another rung in the App Store. While selling apps makes the product feel real and secures future development, the biggest personal satisfaction comes from the feedback our app gets from professional writers.
In over ten years of creating digital products, I have never seen such flaming enthusiasm for something I have worked on. The following email comes from Augusten Burroughs, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Running with Scissors. Since it’s so beautifully written, I’ll quote it in full (emphasis mine):
Hi, I’m an American author and I have been wondering—truly—if I might be losing my mind. Because I buy laptops as if they were wrapped candies; so far this year I’ve purchased around a dozen of them; I’ve tried and used numerous operating systems. All because I haven’t been comfortable writing. And yes, I have tried every “distraction free” writing application I have found. But they have seemed to me more of a gimmick; a way to waste yet more time. I use mainly Linux and though I once used Mac I don’t now. Except I bought an iPad the other day because I had to take a flight and it was on one of those awful small planes with no overhead storage. So I bought the iPad knowing I would loathe it and find it useless but I could give it to a friend when I was done with the trip.
I downloaded your program and I wouldn’t have even tried it except that as i was sitting there on the runway waiting for the plane to actually move, something came to mind and I needed to write it down.
I launched your program and wrote my one-line note.
That was two days ago. I’m well into the book I was supposed to be writing but have not been writing. Your program is the single most useful and remarkably clever—invisibly so—device for writing that I can name. Only at first glance does it appear to be an ordinary text editor. Once in use, I discovered that while it has only a tiny number of features, each is just the one you want. And somehow, this application turns this flat thing on the lap into the most efficient tool for writing that I know of. I guess I paid a dollar for it, maybe two or maybe it was $10; I don’t remember. But I will tell you this: Knowing what I know now, I would buy an iPad if the only application on it was yours.
You have created a truly beautiful and insightful and respectful and elegant application. It is tiny but it is huge.
This gave me goosebumps. The vision for Writer was just that—giving writers what they deserve: the pleasure of the text on a digital device.
There is still a lot to do, but it looks like we’re on the right path. While getting ready for iOS4, fixing some minor bugs, allowing auto-syncing and folders, we’re working on the desktop version. The upcoming Writer for Mac OS X will let you work on a text with the same pleasure you created the first draft on the iPad. You can get Writer for iPad and iPhone in the App Store.