Markdown is a user-friendly, plain-text formatting syntax. It offers an alternative to expensive and proprietary word processors. Several months ago, I stopped using Microsoft Word to write with. I switched to using the markdown syntax with plain text files. How did it go? So far, so good. I thought to post about it but Hilton Lipschitz answers the question, “was switching to Markdown a good call?” Like him, I find that the best outcome of the switch is that I can write more often, and faster.

Everything that I may have written or jotted down is now in a Markdown file. And everything that I was to lazy to record, I now do, in a Markdown file. I write more. In fact, I write a lot more. … The quantitative payoff is clear, I have the information I need in a portable and searchable format and I can get to and create these very quickly, efficiently and productively.

I would add, for any other writers considering a switch like this, that the learning curve was not too steep at all. At first, I wasn’t inclined to learn yet another markup, syntax, or what-have-you. I spend my work time on that sort of thing. (I did dabble in some code; nobody else would need to, though.) I would add that I don’t think the Markdown experience resembled my technology job too much. It’s all just typing. I would also add: that it’s easy to put the text back into a word processor, when the time comes to send it on to an editor, for example. For me, markdown is a tool that makes it easier to compose. Editing comes later. Without the word processor’s distractions, editing comes later, and I feel a bit more free to write.