Words on a Page Writings about writing

Useful plain text resources for writers

Someone typing, maybe in plain text, on a laptop

(Note: Portions of this post originally appeared at Notes From a Floating Life, and are included here via a Creative Commons license.)

You might recall a post I wrote in this space earlier in 2016 that discussed writing in plain text. If you haven’t, feel free to go read it. I’ll wait for you …

Done? Great! Let’s continue.

I know a number of writers (and have a few others) who want to get started writing in plain text but don’t know where to begin. Part of me suspects they’re overthinking the whole writing in plain text thing a bit. But another part of me knows that a little guidance always helps.

With the latter in mind, here are some resources I recommend to those writers and clients. I hope you find them useful.

A Plain Text Primer — A nice explanation of what plain text is and how it can help you.

Removing the Word shackles: getting started with plain text — A detailed look at writing in plain text, mainly using Markdown. It’s a bit Mac/iOS centric, but you can easily adapt the advice in this post to other desktop and mobile operating systems.

store everything in text files — Leo Babauta on the simplicity, utility, and beauty of using plain text files to store information.

5 Unexpected Benefits of Plain Text for Writers — Great reasons why writers should consider writing in plain text.

Sustainable Authorship in Plain Text using Pandoc and Markdown — A tutorial that explains the basics of Markdown and Pandoc (a tool for converting between markup languages), and how to effectively use them together.

Plain Text for Authors & Writers — A long-ish essay explaining the benefits and joys of using plain text, instead of a word processor, to write.

Writing in Plain Text: A Tutorial for the Non-Techy Writer — A look at why plain text is both helpful and elegant when putting words on screen.

Forget fancy formatting: why plain text is best — Why one writer prefers to work in plain text rather than in a word processor.

Writing with Plain Text and Version Control — A techie way of writing and keeping track of versions of your writing.

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