My Writing Setup

Jun 19, 2015
Joe Buhlig
~2 mins

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.

Drafts

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.

OmniFocus

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

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:

1. MarkdownEditing

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.

2. Markdown Preview

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.

3. Monokai Extended

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.

4. WordCount

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.

Editorial

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.

WordPress

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.