Notes and Drafts
I write a lot for work. A plaintext system works for me because the file format is as simple as can be, and I can assemble some of the best tools for each job—Sublime Text for writing and editing, Pandoc for conversion to other file formats, and Git for revision history—to create a lightning-fast system for writing notes and drafts.
I created a system based around using a computer for what it's best at—typing and search—and reducing tedious activities such as browsing through folders and (to a minor extent) moving files around with the mouse.
Thanks to this system, I can create new notes in seconds, quickly find anything I've ever written, export my plaintext drafts to formatted Word documents, keep a history of prior versions of my notes and drafts securely on my own system, and never have` to think about where new thoughts and ideas should go before I start writing them.
In my opinion, having the best tools for the job is critical, so ditch Word and Notepad and start writing in a real text editor: I prefer Sublime Text, and will show you how to set it up for great writing.
- Why plaintext for notes?
- Why Markdown for drafts?
- Windows Markdown editors
- How to set up Sublime Text for Markdown editing
- How to set up Sublime Text for Markdown export to Word
- Sublime Text features and packages of interest to writers
- Version control (revision history) for Plaintext
- How to set up Git and Sublime Text for version control
- Work journal
- Activity log
- Standing lists for GTD or other organizational systems
- Writing is a way of thinking. Write early and often and always.
- Write in plaintext to concentrate on writing rather than formatting.
- Keep a work journal to help focus your thoughts at the beginning of each day.
- Keep standing files, such as "someday/maybe", to capture far-off tasks and keep your main to-do.txt file lean, clean, and relevant.
- Write a personal manifesto to help define yourself.
- When creating drafts of your work product, focus on content and structure, rather than formatting.
- Use the lightweight markup language Markdown to provide basic structure and formatting hints to your drafts.
- Use a really good text editor, such as Sublime Text, that keeps your hands on the keyboard, for efficient writing and word processing.
- Backup and revision history are important. You don't want to lose anything.