Writing Tools: Save Time, Save Energy With Markdown

For freelancers, time is money: your money if you’re charging by the project, clients’ money if you charge by the hour. You need writing tools to easily switch text between formats.

One of my freelance writing students recently talked about the hassle of converting her content between HTML, MS Word, PDF etc for her clients.

“Are you using a Markdown editor?” I asked. One of the joys of Markdown editors is one-click conversions.

Essential writing tools: Markdown editors

“Markdown” is basically plain text, with minimal markup for formatting. Using an editor, you can convert your plain text to many other formats.

Here’s a simple overview of Markdown.

I write everything other than fiction in Markdown in the Ulysses editor (image below), because conversions are so simple.

You can preview while you’re writing in various formats, as you can see in this image, below.

With a click or two, you can publish to those formats. Or if you’re writing books, to EPUB publishing format, or even straight to your WordPress blog.

If I’m writing for a client, I create the text (with images) in Ulysses, then save as MS Word, PDF, or HTML: whatever the client prefers. Currently I’m writing a short manual for a client. As soon as a chapter’s done, Ulysses attaches it, in MS Word format, to an email message.

Ulysses does this in a couple of clicks; I don’t need to do a manual conversion or find the file on my computer.

Find the Markdown editor of your dreams

One of my friends bought an iPad so he can use Ulysses, but there are many Markdown editors for Windows and Mac; as well as editors you can use in a web browser. Here’s a list of Shopify’s Markdown editor picks.

Looking for free writing tools for Markdown?

Try Typora, a nifty Markdown editor. I’ve heard good things about Typora. It’s in beta, so is currently free for Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux users.

As you can see from the image above, Typora has a very clean interface.

When you type, rather than using a separate preview window, your Markdown text adjusts within a second or two, and disappears: you see an instant preview.

In the image above, a couple of instances of Markdown remain. That’s me, not the app; I did a quick copy and paste from Ulysses. 🙂

Typora has as many export formats as Ulysses, and a couple more besides. It’s an elegant app; give it a try.

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