Recently I switched my writing workflow for all of my blog posts to Markdown. I compose all my blog posts in Markdown, sync them with Dropbox and then publish them. In doing so, I have noticed the quality of my posts has increased, the frequency of which I write has increased and more importantly, witness an unprecedented amount of growth in blog traffic.
Writing in Markdown is so liberating, it is just text with a little sugar sprinkled over the top. Creating headings just means I have to write a
# followed by text and bump up the number of
# depending on the type of heading.
It strips away all of the complexity of writing, removing distraction and just letting you focus on the content. I know George RR Martin (guy who authors the Game of Thrones books) uses a computer running DOS with Wordstar 4.0 because he likes the simplicity and distraction free writing it affords him.
Because my posts are a combination of text, images and HTML, Markdown gives me the freedom to easily insert a link or a block of code without really having to write the opening and closing tags.
The pitfalls of Markdown
If you are using Markdown with WordPress, there is a pitfall that using a third-party writing tool like I do means you can’t easily insert images. So generally I will add in placeholders for images, write my article and then in WordPress insert the images as a final step.
Sometimes Markdown can be a little too simplistic, but for most peoples needs, it liberates you. I find Markdown allows me to write a 3,000 word article with relative ease because I can focus on the typing and not having to worry about opening and close hyperlink or paragraph tags.
Because Markdown is just plain text, you can write it using any program you want. I alternate between using Byword on Mac which is a great and affordable Markdown editor and at times I will use Sublime Text Editor to write Markdown as well. I have even used Google Keep to write a blog post in Markdown before. That is the beautiful thing, it is so simple, you can write it using any tool (existing or new).
These days we have our phones, social media, email and a tonne of other things that distract us to a varying degree preventing us from completely utilising our writing potential. When you strip things back, something beautiful happens. You see words more clearly, sentences are easier to read and the words just flow. We think we can multitask, but multitasking comes at a cost of efficiency and clarity.
While Markdown might not be for everyone, I find that because of it, I can easily write at least one blog post on a daily basis with minimal time investment (provided I have something to talk about). I have been known to write 4 or 5 blog posts a day. This increased writing intensity has done wonders for my SEO ranking and traffic.
If you want to learn Markdown or just understand it better, I highly recommend John Gruber’s excellent documentation on the syntax of Markdown which can be found here.