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Capturing ideas with Drafts

I’ve always been one of those people who tried to keep all of my ideas in my brain. Obviously that doesn’t work and I ultimately forget the awesome idea I had of a social network for fruit lovers. There are few things more annoying than pacing around my office trying to remember something I thought I memorized; I have to address this bad habit.

Enter the concept of getting your ideas down on paper immediately. Once you’ve recorded the idea on a more permanent medium, your brain is free to jump to the next idea. You can circle back to the idea whenever you wish, whether it be later that day or weeks down the road.

Everyone has a different way to record ideas, some prefer the feel of pen and paper, others like voice memos, and some turn to the smartphone in their pocket. I fall in the latter category as my iPhone is constantly present and it has proven to be the perfect way to record my thoughts.

My current process is to open ByWord or iA Writer, start a new document, name it, and then type my idea. I could save some time by having one single document for this purpose but that’s not my style, I like everything in a separate document. I was trying to think of a more streamlined process when I stumbled on Drafts by Agile Tortoise.

Drafts is a simple app but one suited to replace my current process completely. When the app opens, it’s at a blank screen, ready to capture my thoughts. When I’m done typing, I can leave the app and Drafts automatically stores what I typed in as a separate note that I can return to later. If I want to capture another thought, the + button will drop me in a new note with no need for a save button.

There’s a whole mess of things you can do with that idea once it’s ready to be shared. You can tweet straight from Drafts using the built in iOS 5 Twitter integration, email it, or copy the text to the clipboard. If you’re a Markdown user, the app will let you preview, email, or copy the Markdown as well.

If themes and fonts are your thing, Drafts has those as well. There are 4 themes and 13 fonts to chose from, nothing ground-breaking but at least you have some choices. It also has built in support for TextExpander Touch and Agile Tortoise’s own Terminology PH.

The biggest problem with Drafts is the lack of Dropbox (affiliate link) integration. I, like most writers who use iOS, have come to rely on Dropbox as a conduit between my writing apps. In a perfect world, I’d be able to open documents created in Drafts with another text editor. Perhaps this feature will arrive in a later release.

Drafts now has a place on my homescreen, ready and waiting for whatever snippet of text I need to save. If you like to capture your thoughts on your iPhone, I’d encourage you to give Drafts a try.

Drafts is available for iPhone/iPod Touch and costs $0.99.