31 Comments

  1. Li-An
    · Reply

    I can understand your point of view. I do not really work in Classic Editor, I work in HTML mode, in Markdown, with an external editor (Caret). What I type in Caret is automatically added in WP editor through withExEditor plugin for Chrome.

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  2. Joseph Dickson
    · Reply

    Lately I’ve been using pen on paper right in my journal for a first draft. If I start digitally I’ll use markdown in Obsidian. :D

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  3. Brian Jackson
    · Reply

    I use Ulysses for writing all of my blog posts. I love blocks for building and designing WordPress sites, but not for uninterrupted and freeflow writing.

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  4. Chris David Miles
    · Reply

    I often start in Google Docs or MS Word (depending on if I’m writing for a personal project or for my day job). Then I’ll paste everything into Gutenberg or classic editor depending on the site. Doing so never works seamlessly, and I’m always manually fixing tags. But in doing so I catch stuff and correct it inline. By the time everything is copy pasted over, it’s basically a 2nd revision.

    If formatted copy paste from MS Word or Google Docs to Gutenberg ever works as well as it probably should, I might start publishing first drafts. :)

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  5. Guti
    · Reply

    Same here. I use also en editor, Notepad++ in my case for doing the draft. It is faster and allows quick corrections.

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  6. Nile Flores
    · Reply

    If I have to write longer posted than 4,000 words, I break it into parts. For clients, I’ve found that due to some hosting environments and their limits, that trying to save 10K words on any post type causes error or the spinner just keeps spinning. I’ve not had this happen in Drupal as much, but for longer format. Interestingly, if I write a 10K+ chapter on FanfictionORG, then there’s never a problem saving there.

    Additionally, WordPress has a long way to go. It’s not entirely web accessible. However, we’re lucky to have so many thoughtful developers that give alternate ways we can choose to use the editor while writing content. A note – While most of my other newer sites use Gutenberg, my clients prefer Classic Editor, and I use the plain text (and have for many years) on my main website. For clients I write for, I write on Google Docs and send for them to edit, and then copy/paste into the WordPress editor.

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  7. Kristina Ponting
    · Reply

    I use a local installed WP, writing my long posts and then import it, never failed me.

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  8. wordsauce
    · Reply

    I set up a Scrivener template that I use for WordPress. That way I can write uninhibited, plus I have a complete content backup of all of my posts in text form. Previously, I did all of my posts in Simplenote, which I still use for free-handing or if I’m typing on mobile.

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    • Justin Tadlock
      · Reply

      I used to like Scrivener until I switched to a new laptop with a 4K screen. IIRC, the icons were either too fuzzy or too small. I’ve been meaning to test it out again to see if it has improved. It’s been a while now.

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  9. Victor Kane
    · Reply

    I am using a VSCode setup similar to that documented here: Creating a VSCode Second Brain https://hodgkins.io/vscode-second-brain . I wish I could setup something like this on a local WordPress site (database… content model… Notion-like plugin… would be great!). So I have all these personal knowledge base features, and put the files in Dropbox so I have them anywhere as simple markdown files. For writing a novel or research manuscript, the open source Zettlr https://www.zettlr.com/ editor can join together a directory of markdown files into a single document, for example. But I do wish I could do it in the WordPress editor, together with some kind of content model plugin (Either toolset (proprietary) or Pods (coming along with blocks integration and open source). Also, a version control system for writers to navigate different versions in markdown, plus something like a submission tracking plugin would be heaven… on WordPress. Why? Because I can keep all my stuff and build on the community and not alone. I dream of a WordPress that gains a consciousness of being a web application platform, not a blogging tool. However I do understand that the current effort is to democratize layout, ui and design.

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  10. Leho Kraav
    · Reply

    Block editor: as of May 2021, only site and template editors managed to get IFRAME-d, see https://github.com/WordPress/gutenberg/pull/31873#issuecomment-848933961 by @ellatrix

    Until post editor gets IFRAME-d and properly isolated from wp-admin, some advanced design systems, such as based on web components, have great trouble getting loaded in post editor, as they would need extra setup and modification just to avoid touching wp-admin chrome.

    Unfortunate.

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  11. Hannes Swaertson
    · Reply

    None of our clients use the block editor. Since blocks became mandatory, they add one classic block and start from there.

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  12. Mark Howells-Mead
    · Reply

    Everyone has their own favourite tool for writing, and there’s not necessarily a need to change it. If you prefer to write in Google Docs and then copy and paste into WordPress, and any negative aspect of doing so (formatting etc.) is less of a problem than simply writing in the Gutenberg editor, then all power to you.

    I agree that neither the old editor nor the more recent version are perfectly-tailored for long-form writing. Writing-specific apps, which have a very narrow focus and feature sets, are much more likely to provide a better environment for the one task they’re designed for.

    However, one of WordPress’s strengths has always been that if you want it to work in a specific way for you, you can install a plugin to achieve that. The Gutenberg editor makes that way more possible than with the “classic editor”. I’ve used the editor in WordPress since its first version to blog, both short- and long-form, and the “classic editor” was always a pain to work with. There was no possibility to move paragraphs around inside the text, and God forbid that you wanted to add a couple of images in an appealing column layout.

    If I were going to run a site where pure writing were the focus, then the Iceberg plugin looks like the leading contender to me.

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  13. Eric Karkovack
    · Reply

    Everyone has their own preferred workflow, and that’s great. For me, writing inside WordPress just has never been a comfortable experience.

    If I’m writing for the web, I’ll start in MS Word (yeah, I’m one of those people). From there, I convert it to HTML in Dreamweaver (I’m one of them as well), then copy & paste code into WP.

    It would probably drive some people crazy to work that way. But the point is we all have our little quirks. If something works for you, then there’s no reason not to do it.

    But you’re right, Justin. It’s also good to step out of the comfort zone sometimes. You might find a new favorite tool for writing.

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  14. Steve Grant
    · Reply

    I mean, if we are being honest about real world usage …

    My clients either write posts of a single paragraph interspersed with random H1 links tinted red, “Our new premises will open on monday … lorem ipsem … (h1)CLICK THIS LINK FOR MAP(h1) Lorem ipsem”

    Or the other option is a massive multi-page formatted up PDF document with some care taken over it. This PDF file is added to a WP post with the above strategy, except the h1 link reads “DOWNLOAD LATEST NEWS” + “sign up for our newsletter”.

    This seems to be the strategy of most companies I work for.

    None of them want to do that layout on the website. When I ask, they always say “Noooo”, the current system is quick and known. The WP alternative is less good than what they have in place.

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  15. Mark Boudreau
    · Reply

    I rarely write directly in WordPress for a lot of the reasons stated by others. I work in MS Word so I can focus on my writing, not formatting and blocks, etc. It allows me to focus on my words. Only when that is ready do I paste it into WordPress.

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  16. Eric Mesa
    · Reply

    Interestingly I never really thought about it until this post. A long, long time ago (maybe WordPress 2.x era?) I used a desktop app that would connect to the WP API. Nowadays I usually write in Google docs. Not because I don’t like WP’s editor, but because by by using Google docs I can work on it a little during my lunch break at work, or on my phone while in line at the store, or when in the car waiting to pick up my kids. Then I just copy/paste into Gutenberg and it usually preserves all the things I care about – bold, italics, links, headers.

    If I’m at home and I think I can whatever I’m writing in one shot, then I’ll just use Gutenberg.

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  17. Steven Gliebe
    · Reply

    I guess it comes down to what you’re doing.

    Classic Block is overlooked too often. I’ll bet half those Classic Editor plugin installations could be ditched if more people just knew about this block. For a simple site, I avoid WordPress altogether and use VSCode with markdown files rendering a second column preview and one-click publishing via a button that triggers rsync. I like Evernote for business notes and .docx files in folders for personal notes.

    It will be neat to see what plugin developers come up with for pure writers in the Gutenberg era. A writing block that goes distraction-free could be as good as any app out there.

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  18. Tony
    · Reply

    When I started, I used the Classic Editor. I then used Windows Live Writer until Microsoft abandoned it, then onto Open Live Writer, but found every post edit saved another copy of any images in the post. I have used Microsoft Word, but am now using the Block Editor. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting there.

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  19. Lukasz Jaroszewski
    · Reply

    I work with a technical writer(who also writes novels) who has these very same pain points listed:

    Gutenberg not ideal for tech writers, feels more like a designer tool
    Missing writing formats i.e., paragraph indent, toggles, notes, tips, etc.

    Mainly we use WordPress to publish help sites for our applications and her preferred authoring tool is actually Madcap Flare, not sure what she uses for drafts. Flare is more of a component content management system (CCMS) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Component_content_management_system

    Many of the writing strategies here seem to paste their copyright into WP
    and then touch up with layout/design. Reassuring to hear that.

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  20. Jason Burnett
    · Reply

    I’m still shocked that a relative WYSIWYG editor isn’t the defacto standard for WordPress. Surely we have the technology to be able to fit type to the character in a layout that looks like a live page in any screen format. Until we have that, it seems like WordPress is faking it with blocks and missing the target entirely with the Classic Editor.

    Lately, I have been using the Grammarly Editor or MS Word with Grammarly.

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  21. Phil Marneweck
    · Reply

    Would like to pick your brain regarding what you would want from writing software. Considering writing a web based system for our technical specs and user docs. I am imagining emacs(lite)/org + git + database. But I dont write enough to make it useful to others as well.

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    • Justin Tadlock
      · Reply

      Markdown support is generally something I like, but it is not a hard rule. More than anything, I typically have multiple articles at various stages of progress. I like to quickly jump between them if I need to make a note without having to reload a page. Syncing/Backing up online (particularly with GitHub) would be nice. Using my personal “bucket” system described above too (customizable folders).

      I’d be happy to chat. Feel free to shoot me an email through the contact form or @greenshady on WordPress Slack.

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  22. Robert Richardson
    · Reply

    Note: if anyone wants to build this, I would be happy to offer direct feedback.

    Ha, you may get your chance to make good on this offer! I’m coming at it sort of backwards, in that I’ve build (and continue to build) WordPress tools to create book+ experiences in WordPress. Since you have to enter the stuff into WP to get the book actually there, I’ve started to think about what it would take to create a professional writer experience within WordPress, some sort of mixup of Word features, Dabble, Draft, and Scrivener… not working on it yet, but thinking about it in a fairly detailed way at this point.

    Anyway, agree that WP blocks are more of a designer thing, for sure. If you’re writing something complex and long, you need ways to keep an eye on the overall structure and the option to drop to a completely distraction-free immediate writing experience.

    Appreciate the post!

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    • Justin Tadlock
      · Reply

      I’m always open to give feedback. I’ve used both Dabble and Scrivener and think they are pretty solid tools, so if you’re looking at them, I imagine you are already on the right track.

      I’ve also written books via specific tech-book templates in Microsoft Word. I have nothing but disdain for the experience both times. So, I can probably tell you some things to definitely not do. :)

      One of the key things missing from WP is it being more like a single-page app where you can move between chapters and scenes or pulling up things like character cards without page reloads. If you’re a writer who keeps a lot of your notes digitally, you’d want quick access to those through some sort of sidebar/folder feature.

      Anyway, we can definitely get into the details any time you want.

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  23. John
    · Reply

    The first time I tried the Block Editor, I was … gosh this looks like a broken Page Maker or Quark Xpress. Writing and Layout-ing is equally easy.

    Even thought sending them email to go check Desk Top Publishing (DTP) products for ideas and to see how is done.

    It is 20 years old technology.

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  24. Victor
    · Reply

    I don’t write as much as I’d like but for me, Apple Pages and Google Docs are two great “no pressure” ways to get thoughts out of my head.

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  25. Dejan
    · Reply

    I also love markdown since I’ve gotten used to it on GitHub. For writing I’ve been using Focused app on macOS lately and it’s been great.

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  26. Per Herngren
    · Reply

    I use Classic block or Classic editor. Sometimes Google Docs and paste.

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