It’s been a little over a year since I started blogging and I’ve had a number of folks ask me what tools I use to write my articles. This is an outline of my process from idea to publish.
Most articles start as a small idea for me. I always capture these with my iPhone and Drafts. Even if I originally captured the idea on a note card, I’ll enter it into Drafts. From there, they auto-magically end up on a Someday/Maybe list in OmniFocus. I’m lazy so I had to make it happen without any intervention.
When I’m deciding what articles to write, I review my Blog Post Ideas list in OmniFocus for inspiration. When I’ve decided which idea gets to move forward, I turn that task into a project using a template project. This ensures that I complete all the steps necessary to get a blog post out the door.
Sublime Text 3 is my writing environment of choice. I use it for writing code at work. It has a lot of features that I don’t use for writing articles, but the extensibility and full-screen writing are really nice.
I write primarily in Markdown and to give Sublime more abilities, I extended it to create my custom setup. You need to install the Package Installer to get these, but here are the packages I use within Sublime:
This gives you special macros, themes, and other tools that make it easier to write Markdown in Sublime. Adding missing link labels, running LINT, and switching list types are just a few of the tools you get.
When I’m done with my article, I run a command to copy the HTML to my clipboard using Markdown Preview. This package also allows you to export it to a file or preview the article in a browser. I never preview Markdown. It’s rarely different than what I was thinking. I know HTML and write it a lot. If something is wrong at the end, I’ll tweak the raw code.
Every time an application introduces a Dark or Night Mode, I use it. I don’t like staring at a light bulb all day so I try to minimize the amount of whitespace on a screen and turn it into grayspace. Monokai Extended is a syntax highlighter and color theme that works really well for me and allows me to get that Dark Mode I want.
I like to know how long my articles are. So I installed this little package that gives me a live word count as I’m typing. But I usually write in Distraction-Free Mode within Sublime Text which removes the ability to see all menu and status bars. So, it’s apparently not that important.
Once in a while I’m away from my computer and I have an idea for an article I’m in the middle of. In that case, I use Editorial to edit text files on my iPhone or iPad.
When it’s all done, I copy the HTML for an article in Sublime Text and paste it into WordPress. If I want to do anything special to the code, I do it there. Otherwise, I’m simply checking the preview for the article and preparing the plane for takeoff.