What do you write your draft posts in? January 13, 2015 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Having a discussion on Twitter and I thought I could get some more answers from the community about what you use to draft your fpps in. Ideally looking for freebies I can download. Also somewhat interested in how people work, although this is just for curiosity's sake, and not really a problem to solve. (Particularly interested in 'heavy hitters' like filthy light thief, flex, the man of twists and turns, Rhaomi, etc.)

I use Gmail (saved as 'drafts'), and am fine with that, but wonder if there's something better out there with some features I could benefit from or that would otherwise make writing posts easier.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome to MetaFilter-Related at 8:05 AM (47 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

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posted by Going To Maine at 8:29 AM on January 13, 2015


Probably be helpful for suggestionwise if you say what OS you use.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:29 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm working in Windows 7 Home Premium and whatever the latest is from Chrome as a web browser.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:40 AM on January 13, 2015


(I've also got LibreOffice 4.1.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:41 AM on January 13, 2015


I have used, alternately, Evernote and Sublime Text for years (not that I post often).
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:52 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Vim on the computer, Drafts on the 'phone or tablet, using Textexpander in both cases for italics, blockquotes, links, &c.

Sometimes I like writing posts and comments in Markdown then converting to HTML - much easier to write/proofread if youre dealing with lots of links.

I dont really get why youd need specific software for writing MetaFilter posts, though - just use whatever text editor youre used to.
posted by jack_mo at 9:02 AM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I use Evernote. I also have an IFTTT recipe set up so if I save something to Pocket and tag it "possFPP" it'll create a note in the appropriate Evernote folder. (It's not perfect — the IFTTT recipe only seems to work if I tag the thing at the time I Pocket it, not if I go back and add the tag to an existing thing in my queue.)
posted by Lexica at 9:08 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, the Edit With... extension for Alfred is well handy if you're on OS X - it lets you edit stuff in textareas on the web with your fave text editor.
posted by jack_mo at 9:11 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just use Notepad. I used the equivalent Apple program when I had a Mac.

But that's just because I like stripped down programs like that. But I would avoid more powerful word processors. Anything that can decide to turn quotes into smartquotes is best avoided.
posted by Kattullus at 9:23 AM on January 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Notepad.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:26 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I use Sublime Text 2 on a Mac as my text editor as of late. My favorite feature is the keystroke to wrap selected text in a link, which I do lots of to write basic HTML for posts.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:32 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I favor NoteTab as a plain text editor for writing text as opposed to coding.
posted by Flexagon at 9:36 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Usually I don't draft beforehand - I just compose posts on MeFi itself (with stops to "select all", copy, & paste into Notepad along the way just in case... ask me about the time I spent over three hours drafting my post on bathrooms in "New Post" and then an inadvertent click lost the whole draft on my very last preview - I had to redo it all from scratch).

When I do draft beforehand, I do it in Notepad.
posted by flex at 10:00 AM on January 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sublime Text and I save to Dropbox so I can work on multiple computers.
posted by brundlefly at 10:05 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh and like jack_mo I often use Markdown.
posted by brundlefly at 10:06 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Draft in Notepad to rough it out, then everything gets copied over to NoteTab to double-check links and formatting. Notepad + NoteTab 4E.
posted by divined by radio at 10:21 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Vim on the computer...

Emacs 4 lyfe!!!
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:15 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am far from a power poster, but I usually use TextMate for Mac to edit a textfile in markdown syntax. (It's a little easier to format links and move them around in markdown than straight HTML.) Then I process the markdown into HTML when I'm ready to actually post it. Although I seem to recall my browser and/or MetaFilter having problems with some of the HTML entities Markdown uses when it tries to get fancy with double quotes and apostrophes.
posted by usonian at 11:28 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I am doing a draft for something that I feel needs research and/or multiple links, I typically start it in Gmail. If you haven't seen it, I did a blog post about one of my FPPs to share that process.

But my main goal for FPPs is to learn how to post successful lighter ones, not link-heavy ones. One of my more interesting experiences was a single link where the framing I used completely inadvertently shaped the discussion into something a lot niftier than I thought the article would inspire. I wish I could do that kind of thing on purpose instead of being flabbergasted and delighted by the unexpected result.
posted by Michele in California at 12:40 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hello, I'm Herodios. You may remember me from such megaposts as Ray Collins, we love you!, The Man Who Would Be King (of the Guitar), Horse Opera (starring Cliff Nobles), and The Jellyfish that Conquered the Earth.

When I write a long FPP like that, I compose it in Microsoft Word. That's right: Microsoft Word.It's what's for dinner.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:59 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Usually pen and paper at first, as being 46 and therefore ancient/no longer in my "extremely late thirties", am reducing screen time for comfort. For longer posts, scribbled phrases or concepts or rough bits on post-it notes, which are then moved around on the bedroom wall* until the flow of words seems right.

Some where I'm familiar with the subject matter, like the recent one on Scottish Island Blogging, were just done in one banging-on-the-keyboard take straight into the FPP window.

* Self-employed + winter + England = working from bed
posted by Wordshore at 1:53 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I use vim. I doubt that's helpful, but it occurs to me that having a "body { white-space: pre-line; } body > * { white-space: normal; }" stylesheet defined while composing a lengthy post might be handy to sort of mimic MeFi's line break behavior while you're previewing it locally.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 2:02 PM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


even for my massive Christmas Day NBA post I just used google docs. Not too massive heavy lifting needed for an FPP iyam.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:18 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Potomac Avenue, what do you use the fully formatted output as HTML? I've written in Google Docs, but I can't seem to get a post's HTML out of it with copy/paste or exporting.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:28 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I sometimes use Dillinger for writing in Markdown and converting to HTML to post to MeFi. Like usonian said, Markdown is a big help when you have lots of links. If I'm writing something longer, I just can't proofread it properly if it's in HTML.
posted by Banknote of the year at 2:57 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Drafts are for cowards. Cry havoc and throw caution to the winds!

And then be very polite in the Contact form.
posted by homunculus at 3:19 PM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I threw caution to the winds and lost 40 minutes or so worth of work.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:27 PM on January 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


IME, it only took one "try to compose a post on an iDevice and have the freaking thing oh so 'helpfully' reload just at the exact wrong time thereby losing everything" experience to get me to switch to composing in something else that doesn't do that kind of thing. So, yeah. I like my caution unwinded.
posted by Lexica at 5:04 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


What do you write your draft posts in?

The blood of innocents.
posted by crossoverman at 5:26 PM on January 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've been bare metaling it in the posting form since the JRUN problem seems resolved.
posted by Mitheral at 6:13 PM on January 13, 2015


I don't do anything special, just compose in the post submission form so I can check formatting, test links, and find doubles. A post lost to a browser crash a few years back has led me to regularly copy-paste the whole thing to a separate Notepad file for backup, though.

As for managing FPP content, Firefox's tab/session grouping thing is a lifesaver. I'll also sock potential links and ideas wherever's handy -- desktop folders, iOS notes, Google Chrome windows, Feedly saved items (that also get sent to Gmail), etc.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:28 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I use vim for all text editing. It makes me orders of magnitude faster at editing, which helps make up for how dismally slow my big, meaty claws type. That's probably overkill for your needs, though. Something like Evernote or notepad + dropbox makes more sense if you don't write code for a living.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:04 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah - no I don't write code for a living. This has been a really interesting thread, thank you.

(Rhaomi, you compose those megaposts in the post submission form? 😵 Talk about a crap shoot. Well at least you use Notepad to backup. ;))
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:14 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I collect my links in a Gmail draft, often sorting by how I envision the post to go, then I put them together in a new post, or if it hasn't been 24 hours since my last post, I draft a new post as a comment in one of my prior posts (figuring if I accidentally post it, then I'm not adding weird noise in someone else's thread).

Other tools: Textpad or a similar program that handles line breaks/text wrapping better, and TenClips, which I adore for so many reasons (10 clipboards, easily accessible via hotkeys, and another hotkey combo to strip formatting from text). I'm on Windows machines (an ooold Vista laptop, and Windows 7 elsewhere).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:53 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


A lovely Lamy fountain pen with classic blue-black ink on some 'made for fountain pen ink' note paper from Muji.

/Yeah, I'm a snob like that
posted by infini at 11:39 PM on January 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Emacs 4 lyfe!!!

I'm such a text editor perv that I use Vim and Emacs. Vimified with the fancy Spacemacs config, admittedly - I'm not insane ;-)

Yeah - no I don't write code for a living.

Nor do I - Vim is defo the best thing I've found for editing prose, though, even if most folk use it for code. It understands text in terms of letters, words, sentences and paragraphs, and you tell it to do stuff by composing cryptic wee sentences in a sort of terse mnemonic language. E.g. you type cis to change the text inside the current sentence. Once you get used to this way of working, you start to edit text by writing about it! This will make your brain go all joyful and tingly with the meta-ness of it all. (The slight downside is that learning to use Vim is a complete fucking nightmare, and it'll probably take at least a month of daily practice before you get to the tingly brain joy point.)

Although I seem to recall my browser and/or MetaFilter having problems with some of the HTML entities Markdown uses when it tries to get fancy with double quotes and apostrophes.

I gave up trying to understand what the MeFi comment box will do to HTML about a decade ago. See my first comment in this thread - Drafts does SmartyPants type stuff when you convert Markdown to HTML, so MeFi ate all my typographically tasteful apostrophes.

If you read these MetaTalk threads, it might be possible to work out what it does, the differences between the live preview and the 'Preview' button, what happens if you hit that button more than once, &c.: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...
posted by jack_mo at 6:03 AM on January 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


What means it 'draft'?
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on January 14, 2015


I love how many different answers there are for this question.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:36 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The slight downside is that learning to use Vim is a complete fucking nightmare, and it'll probably take at least a month of daily practice before you get to the tingly brain joy point.

Two relevant FPPs: Text Editor à la mode and The shadowy cursor has come at last! The prophecy will be fulfilled!
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:00 AM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


For the post I've just done and published, on a matter of great strife here in the Motherland, I used TextEdit on my MacBook as there were a lot of links in this one and, as a simple text editor, it doesn't mangle them.

Off to eat some chocolate now. Some real chocolate.
posted by Wordshore at 1:17 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a Win7 user and like to use Notepad++, which is a free replacement for the normal Windows Notepad app. It's a bare-bones text editor with some fairly powerful search/replace features, and is ideal for light HTMLing such as is done in MeFi posts.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:27 PM on January 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


What do you write your draft posts in?

This Comment
contains all that was Mortal
of a
Young(ish) Californian MeFite
Who
on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
Desired
these Words to be
engraven on his Tomb Stone:
Here lies One
Whose Comment was writ in Water.

Also vim.
posted by Celsius1414 at 5:39 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aquamacs. Highly recommended if you're into that kind of thing. (That kind of thing being "OS X" and "emacs.")
posted by BrashTech at 5:50 PM on January 14, 2015


Just Google drive. I can grab it anywhere, supports links, etc.
posted by Miko at 7:18 PM on January 14, 2015


an inebriated state?

No but seriously, anything that might take more than a few paragraphs gets drafted in Evernote - MeFi posts, Goodreads book reviews, long emails, everything. I like that I can access these notes from any and every computeration device that I use.
posted by komara at 9:02 AM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I'm such a text editor perv that I use Vim and Emacs.

ed. Just to keep my hand in.
posted by jfuller at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2015


Any comments on Android or Linux editors?

I depend on vim for fine work, ala an interactive sed, but I've grown lazy in many respects and don't use vim's features often enough to care for everyday stuff. I should probably research alternative vim configurations rather than alternative text editors.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:52 PM on January 19, 2015


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