Published: April 05, 2021
Reading Time: 9 mins
I enjoy writing my articles using Markdown as it offers a lot of benefits. I’m able to write without distraction. Plus my hands never need to leave the keyboard to format what I’m writing.
I can make things bold, italicized, or underlined all while typing away on my keyboard.
Markdown is a lightweight markup language that many people use in a variety of situations. From coding projects to technical writing to writing blog posts like I’m doing here.
I started writing in Markdown about a year ago after coming across it in my work creating technical documentation.
At the time I even included Markdown on my list of the 10 Best Ways To Increase Productivity As A Blogger. I still believe it is an excellent way to save time when writing.
In this article, I want to share with you why I love using Markdown and why you should start using it today.
Let’s start by talking about the benefits of writing in Markdown.
I started this list with a few obvious benefits I wanted to talk about but I was pleasantly surprised to find the list grow the more I thought about it.
I use an application called Typora for writing in Markdown. Although it’s worth noting that there are a lot of apps that support this markup.
When I’m about to start my first Pomodoro for writing in the morning as part of my consistent writing habit, I pick a topic from my Writing Topics list, open Typora, and start writing.
I don’t have to think about formatting the size of pages, margins, or text sizes, I can just write.
What’s more, I can turn on full-screen mode and I am totally immersed in the writing screen without distractions.
I can’t see the time down in my toolbar, I can’t see any Slack messages, I can’t see all the browser tabs I have open.
This dedicated and carefully controlled writing context allows me to work deeply during my writing time.
That’s because it’s something I’ve been doing consistently for a while now thanks to Markdown and Typora.
Writing in Markdown allows me to focus on writing instead of worrying about text formatting.
This means I’m able to write more in less time.
That is provided I have enough to write about but that’s a different topic for another time.
I start by writing the article title at the top of the screen and making it an H1 format:
# This is my blog post title which is H1
If you’re anyway familiar with HTML syntax you’ll know that h1 tags are used for top-level headings.
This also helps out your SEO when you make use of headings. That’s because it tells search engines the structure of your content.
Well, that’s a little off-topic; back to Markdown.
As I’m writing, if there’s something I want to turn into a bulleted list for instance I can just type:
- this is my bulleted list - this is the second point on my list - this is the third point on my list
This convention has become second nature to me now that I automatically type in Markdown syntax.
I can also add a link as I write with the following syntax:
Again, this is something that is second nature to me.
Bonus tip here: Todoist accepts this format so you can include links in your tasks. This is something I do to link my tasks to other systems like Notion.
If you want to learn more cool tips and tricks for using Todoist, I recommend you take a look at this article I wrote: How A UI Designer Uses Todoist.
All of this to say, by becoming familiar with the Markdown syntax I can write at an increased speed which allows me to create blog articles faster.
This ultimately saves me time when compared to writing an article in Word or Google Docs which I used to do.
I mentioned it briefly in the first point but there are so many applications now that support the Markdown syntax.
You may have originally seen Markdown files (.md file extension) on sites like GitHub where markdown is used to create README files.
I personally use Markdown in:
By adapting my writing process to write my articles in Markdown, I can write an entire article including images and links in Typora.
Then when I’m ready to publish, I simply copy and paste the article into WordPress and it keeps the formatting I’ve used.
I can then easily back up my articles to GitHub where I can read them should I need to refer to them.
This also gives me added redundancy and peace of mind when backing up my content.
Apps like Obsidian, Notion, and Todoist also use the Markdown syntax so this makes writing across different systems very simple.
This means that I can save time when moving my content into different systems as I can copy and paste text without much extra formatting.
By the same token, the fact that Markdown is used in a lot of applications means that you only have to learn Markdown once to use it in a variety of systems.
I can switch apps as I need to and continue typing in Markdown without skipping a beat.
If I’m editing something I wrote in Typora and need to reformat a paragraph into a numbered list, I can do that with a few keystrokes.
When I’m in WordPress and want to turn a piece of text into a link, I don’t even have to think about how to do it, I simply type out the syntax and I’m good to go.
Finally, when I’m writing out my literature notes and evergreen notes in Obsidian, I simply type as fast as my hands will let me to keep up with my brain.
The Markdown syntax has become widely adopted by many applications which means you can leverage Markdown to become more efficient with your writing system.
There can be a bit of a learning curve when you start learning Markdown but with a tool like Typora, you can easily overcome the initial hurdle. At least, this was my experience.
This is the application I would most recommend if you want to start learning Markdown as it offers a WYSIWYM interface (What you see is what you mean).
As you select a piece of formatted text, that section will reveal the Markdown syntax behind it.
If you’re stuck for the syntax of a quote, for instance, Typora allows you to right-click and select from several formatting options.
You can also use this to add things like tables or code blocks if you forget the syntax.
By working in an application like Typora, you can effectively learn Markdown over time without any difficulty in my opinion.
So you have no excuse not to try it!
Another great reason for writing in Markdown is that you can easily backup your work to GitHub.
By doing this you can have another backup of your work for added redundancy.
You can also read your files directly from GitHub so you can easily reference something if you need it.
I set this up via a tool called GitHub desktop. This allows me to commit any changes I make and push them to my GitHub repository of blog posts.
Quick aside here, I also follow this process for backing up my Obsidian vault.
If you want to know more about that, you can check out this article: My Obsidian Setup - 2021.
Markdown files are a lot smaller than traditional Word documents.
This might not seem important in an age of virtually limitless storage sizes but it’s worth considering nonetheless.
Most of my fully written articles don’t get much bigger than 20 KB. That’s KB, not MB!
If you write hundreds or even thousands of articles, file sizes will begin to add up so it’s worth using the smallest and most efficient file types you can.
One of my favorite things about Markdown is how it allows me to work completely offline.
Combined with my Obsidian notes, I don’t need to be connected to the internet to do any of my writing or editing.
This is extremely helpful for me as the internet can be a huge source of distraction. It’s like a giant candy store just waiting to provide me with that sugar rush of dopamine.
One of the insights I took away from reading The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey is that the best way to overcome interruptions is to remove any distractions before they can occur.
That’s why I turn off Wi-Fi on my laptop during my writing Pomodoros.
This is effective at helping me to maintain focus and perform deep work. Which is something that wouldn’t be possible without my Markdown workflow.
OK, so by now I’m sure I’ve sold you on the benefits of using Markdown.
I’m sure you’re next question is “how can I start learning how to use it?”.
To get started learning Markdown, I recommend you do the following:
It’s really that simple.
As you practice writing in a tool like Typora, you’ll begin to learn the syntax for the different formatting options available to you.
Over time it will become second nature and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to switch in the first place!
I really hope you found some value in reading this article and it helped to show you the benefits of Markdown for your writing process.
If you liked this article, why not share it on social media so others can find it?
Here are some more articles you might like to read next:
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