🖊️ A quick look at my writing workflow
Over the years I’ve worked with a huge number of writing tools whether they be editors or grammar tools and while I’m always willing to try something new, there are 5 main tools I use to take an idea and get it published:
NoteList – This is where I store ideas and make outlines. I list the topics I’m interested in, make a rough outline of topics, and add links, and store notes. NoteList is simple, but effective in gathering research material and giving me the general structure of what I’m trying to say. The actual NoteList file is part of Scrivener, and sits in the Research folder, so it’s always available. No searching through folders, right-click, Open in External Editor.
Scrivener – When it comes to writing, everything is done in Scrivener and it’s been that way for 8 years. My articles, my journals, my technical documentation, even emails of more than a couple sentences are all composed in Scrivener. It’s an amazing editor that simply works. It’s so powerful, yet feels so easy to use with a simple layout and minimal UI. It keeps all my work organized and I can always find what I’m looking for. Writing in any other app feels awkward.
Scrivener was one of the first apps I got when I made the switch to Mac. I heard so many good things about it, and all of them are true. I’ve got 8 years worth of writing in Scrivener. There are several million words across my Scrivener docs, and I simply wouldn’t use anything else. I try other tools just for experience, but it never compares to Scrivener. And when I’m forced to use Word on Windows, it’s like chiseling words into stone.
PaperEdit – After I’ve read over my work manually and I’m comfortable with how it flows, it gets loaded into PaperEdit to check for glaring mistakes in grammar and readability. I’ve tried a lot of grammar checkers, and really like the Hemingway Editor, and still use it from time to time if I want a deeper analysis. PaperEdit is similar where I can check the language and flow of what I’m writing. Sadly, neither app has seen an update in far too long. But, they still work with nice features, and both help with common language errors. If PaperEdit got some updates and a few new features, especially a custom list of words to flag, it would be a standout app.
MWeb – When I want to check my Markdown usage or I’m working with code blocks, I check it over with MWeb. I’ve sung the praises of MWeb before, and I think it’s the best Markdown editor I’ve worked with.
WordPress app – To publish a final product, I use the WordPress app. It’s the same thing as using a browser, and in some cases the browser is a bit better. The app feels a bit more stripped down, but it’s convenient. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. There is no “Quick Edit” and the layout isn’t great, but it works. I keep switching back and forth, but either way, I connect to WordPress. I will say using the WordPress “editor” to write is a terrible experience either way.
It’s nothing mysterious or interesting for that matter, but these are the tools I’ve come to rely on for getting ideas down on digital paper. Of those, Scrivener is the most important. I can get by without the other apps, but I’m not going to write in anything but Scrivener.