Even on paper I write in a bastardised, paper-friendly subset of Markdown. I write underscores to denote words I wish to emphasise, a greater than symbol to indicate text I am quoting, and surrounds words that will later form a link with square brackets.

I suppose it shows that the primary intent is for what I write to be put on the web. In that regard it is helpful but it also means that I'm thinking about formatting, about publishing, rather than just on the word themselves. It definitely shows that I am used to writing for the web and only now transitioning back to paper as though it is some strange concept.

This creates a conflict between getting the words down and ensuring those words will be presented in the way I originally intended. It's a conflict between flow and refinement, when the writing and editing should be separate, distinct phases in the process.

Maybe I'm just overthinking it. Maybe I should just stick to what works for me, what seems to work at least.

  1. strandlines says: #
    that’s a good idea, though I can see it could interrupt flow. Maybe marking it up afterwards would help solve that conflict?
  2. matthewlang says: #
    I have done the same thing in the past as well. While I was formatting my writing with Markdown, what I was writing was never going to be published. There wasn't a need for me to apply formatting from a presentation perspective, it's just that I wanted to emphasise certain lines and paragraphs as a revision aid. For myself I don't see it as thinking about formatting for publishing, but more for formatting to make it clearer for myself when I come to read it again. Use what works for yourself.
  3. vasta says: #
    I write in Markdown when I write on paper too! I thought it was a function of always thinking web first, but then realized that I did that when I was a child, too. (Not exactly Markdown, but a set of symbols that denoted things like emphasis and blockquotes and stuff like that.) Maybe it's just a function of our desire to organize, categorize, and sense-make?
  4. Colin Walker says: #
    Maybe so but I only recall starting it after writing on Google+ a lot with the markup system they had then that naturally gravitated to Markdown.
  5. nitinkhanna says: #
    I’ve realized that we do two basic forms of writing - one where we’re writing something personal, or something new - something where the surroundings don’t matter. But the other form is when we’re discussing an idea, always in relation to someone or something else. In that writing, we tend to want to quote those ideas and people. Neither one is the lesser form of writing, and if you do write the way you do, it’s because you write the latter form more. I think that’s perfectly fine and you may be overthinking it... 😊

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