The Writing Toolkit

I have spent way too much time experimenting about publishing tools already. As I need to get into writing more, I should first get the how out of the way. Here is a description of the approach I currently use to write.

Markdown

I usually write in Markdown, which appears to be a satisfactory evolution of writing. Italic, bold, lists or headings are integral part of how I write. They should be stored as content, not formatting. Also it is light and portable - unlike MS Word or Google Docs. There are tons of libraries, converters and other software tools to manipulate it.

Static websites

Jekyll, Metalsmith, Hugo, etc.. I have tried them all. Each new project starts with a basic website that feeds markdown and output plain html pages. These are easy to update, store and serve. The main relief of getting out of Wordpress blogging was the end of endless spam fighting. As comments are now happening on social media, all what you need is an html page with text and styling. Static generators fits well with version control system, such a Git. I use them extensively to keep tracks of evolutions, progress and writing tasks.

Languages

I often ask myself why I don’t write more in French. French is my mother tongue and a powerful language to describe the world. Part of the reason is that I usually read in English and speak in Chinese. French is for my daily interactions - I live in France. I rarely use it for work, except for some occasional commissioned writings. One problem is that, despite my best efforts, my written English still somehow broken. Grammar and style checkers are useful, especially to learn my most common mistakes.

Writing apps

I write on any text editor that supports Markdown. The simpler the better, so I end up using any minimal text editor. My usual coding IDE has too much developer features that gets on the way of ordering ideas. I wrote this post on Simplenote because it syncs with mobile. That way I can write or proofread on the go. I write quite a lot on mobile but editing is painful for fingers. Usually feels much easier to Read on the phone and write on a computer.

This is my actual toolkit. This is in constant evolution and may vary according to deadlines, publishers and my mood of the day. So much to explore there.

With @kidproto, we have set up Scale, a new publication to experiment with publishing formats and workflows. Don’t forget to check it and let us know how you write!

A question? A comment?

Please send it to me by email bonjour@clementrenaud.com or on Twitter.