Digital Writing Toolbox
Better Workflows for Today's Writer
An upcoming book by me!
Check out my recent presentation on better workflows for today's writer at the 2014 Web Conference at Penn State:
Why this book?
There's more to writing than writing.
Crafting useful and compelling digital copy is not an act of magic or divine intervention, and it's certainly not a feature of your word processor or content management system. I believe anyone can develop personal workflows to make writing easier, more enjoyable, and more successful.
Creating content individually and collaboratively with stakeholders, editors, designers, and other writers adds complexities to the creative process that your CMS and word processor just weren't built to address. Luckily, there's a whole world of apps, tools, process hacks and best practices out there to ease these pains and let us focus on what we're good at: writing.
This ain't a book about grammar and syntax. It's not about agile or waterfall processes. It's about you, and your assignments, and your word processer, and the shit that comes in between having to write a thing and being (really, actually) done writing the thing.
To do it, I break down the unwieldy concept of writing into a practical four-part framework: thinking, composing, editing, and finishing. I'll teach you how to how to apply this framework to your projects, making it easier to choose the right tool for the job and better integrate others into your processes.
To give you an idea, here are a few topics that will be explored:
- Time-saving resources for overworked writers and content teams
- Apps and techniques for collaborating on drafts without losing your work — or your sanity
- Generating ideas together and organizing the results
- "Diffing" — using software to identify differences between drafts and easily approve or reject changes
- Tips on providing asynchronous feedback through email and project management tools
- The pros and cons of popular collaboration tools like Google Drive, Draft, and Editorially
Ripped from the headlines (of my slide deck)
A lot of the material for this book was originally researched, developed, and road-tested as presentations and workshops at various web and design conferences.
And lucky you, there's a full video recording and slideshare presentation that gives a good idea of the kinds of things this book will cover.
A collection of many resources I've already collected for my talks and workshops on this topic.
If you're looking for a particular tool that's not on the list, or need something to help with a specific problem or for a different platform, drop me a line and I'll see if I can help.
Books and Articles
- Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter) by Dan M. Brown
- The 10% Solution by Ken Rand
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Video by Scott Berkun demonstrating the "dotted line" technique I mentioned.
- Why and How I Keep a Work Journal - By me!
- Introducing the Hipster PDA by Merlin Mann
Apps and Tools
- Marked - Markdown preview and export tool (OSX)
- MindNode Lite - mindmapping tool (I use the Pro version, this one's free) (OSX)
- MindNode for iPad
- TextExpander (free trial, OSX)
- ClipMenu -- Clipboard manager (free, OSX)
- Basic Markdown Syntax by John Gruber
- Evernote (multiplatform)
- Drafts -- rapid mobile text entry (iOS)
- nvAlt - "Take notes quickly and effortlessly using just your keyboard" (free, OSX)
- Day One (Journal / Diary) (iOS, also for OSX)
If you want to go even further down the rabbit hole, here are some nerdy websites and podcasts I enjoy where I learn about a lot of the technical side of writing/creative workflows:
- Back to Work -- This program changed my life. I'd start with the first episode, then jump around based on what's interesting to you. He has a great recent arc about the Getting Things Done system that picks up around episode 100. (There are lots of inside jokes; don't worry if your'e a little lost at first)
- Systematic -- A show by Brett Terpstra who makes a lot of the tools I love and recommend. He often interviews celebrities and other people who need to be highly productive in their work and I find those episodes very insightful.