Sublime Text is a popular coding editor, but after using it for a few months, I realized something: it’s also a great blogging tool. I don’t simply mean it’s a great blogging tool for a code editor; Mean it’s a great blogging tool in general. Now write all of my posts in Sublime Text, including this one, and there’s nothing else like it, as you’ll see.
I’ll provide the most significant tips for blogging in Sublime Text in this article, and the benefits will become evident as we go.
Let’s go start.
1. Use Markdown to write
It’s a text editor, not a rich text editor, like Sublime Text is. This implies you’ll get the most bang for your money if you use a formatting language like Markdown. If you’re still not convince, consider the following advantages:
Your files are cross-platform transferable. On your computer, you might use Sublime Text, but on the iPad, you can just as easily switch to Editorial.
It’s a lot easier to make a backup of your work. Save all of your files to Dropbox and you’ll have an archive of your postings in no time? When you combine this with Arq and Glacier, you’ll have many more backups than you’ll ever need.
You’re not obligated to use any particular format. Converting from Markdown to HTML, as well as virtually any other format, is simple. There is no better way to protect your speech.
Then there are the perks connected specifically with Sublime Text, which we’ll discuss today.
2. Put These Packages in Place
Sublime Text offers a lot of capabilities on its own that will help you deal with words, but there’s also a huge ecosystem of third-party packages that take it to the next level. Here are the ones that I’ve discovered to be the most useful:
Markdown editing (above) provides the finest syntax highlighting I’ve ever seen in a Markdown file, even better than dedicated writing tools like Byword. It also streamlines the user interface by removing line numbers and other obtrusive elements.
Smart Markdown also adds a number of handy features, such as the ability to fold headlines (which is especially useful for longer documents) and the ability to construct Markdown lists more quickly (by automatically creating bullet points when you press the “Return” key).
Word Count adds a word counter to the status bar of Sublime Text. It isn’t a particularly noteworthy package, but it functions admirably in any case.
However, this is only the top of the iceberg. There are tens of thousands of packages to choose from, many of which are tailor to writers.
Visit Package Control to look for packages (and learn how to install them). You may also look for writing-related software by clicking here.
3. Switch to the Distraction-Free Mode
As I previously stated, the Markdown Editing package streamlines the interface so you can concentrate on your words, but Sublime Text also provides a mode for removing distractions (and both modes complement rather than compete).
Select the option from the “View” menu or press Shift + CTRL + CMD + F on your keyboard (if you’re a Mac user) to enable distraction-free mode.
The word-wrap length is reduced in this make, interface components are remove (although everything is still accessible via shortcuts), and there is nothing left to distract you. This alone will not make you a great writer, but it will help you to:
Having nothing in front of you except your words can help.
Although I’m confident it will become common, this feature is not available in all code editors. (This is not to be confuse with full-screen mode.)
You also have a lot of customization options, so if the distraction-free settings aren’t quite to your liking, you can adjust practically anything with a little fiddling (though this will involve some Googling).
4. Use Projects to Stay Organized
You can save a group of folders as a project if you open a folder (or multiple folders) in Sublime Text. Here’s an illustration:
I’m currently writing this post in a “Posts” project that has the three folders below:
These are the sites for which I’m now writing, so if I need to write something, I can open this project and have fast access to all of my blog articles (even if these folders aren’t in the same location on my computer).
What distinguishes this from using the file system?
I can switch between all of the files in my project without ever touching the mouse simply hitting the CMD + P combo on my keyboard. This may not be a game-changer, but it does include the following:
It becomes one of those unconsciously formed habits that enables you to flip between composing blog posts without breaking your flow.
There are a lot of shortcuts and features like these that were create for programmers but work well for writing jobs as well.
Editing will occasionally take more steps, but never fewer, and I believe that this rigidity has helped me attract more readers to my blog and land writing employment on larger sites like Site Point.
Using the “Layouts” function in Sublime Text to split the window into different quadrants makes editing like this a breeze. I normally split the window into two vertical panes, although horizontal panes and choices for a larger number of panes are also available (useful if you have a large monitor and want to have another pane that contains research, for instance).
6. Make a copy of your writing
It’s great to be able to write blog entries in Sublime Text. But how can you get these posts to appear on your blog? Consider the following options:
Install the Jetpack Markdown plugin if you’re a WordPress user. When writing posts, this will enable Markdown support.
Exporting Markdown files to HTML is simple with an application like Marked (but there are alternative packages available).
Switch to a Jekyll-based static blogging platform. This is a more significant change, but the writing experience will be invaluable.
There’s a lot to like about Sublime Text, and we’ve just scratched the surface. If you’re currently using a text editor and enjoy the concept of a more compact workflow, it’s worth going into the application and learning more about its packages, customization, and unlimited amount of shortcuts for making your writing that little bit easier.