Considering I write a LOT, and write every single day to share on online platforms like my blog, LinkedIn and Twitter, a lot of people have asked me, “What’s your system?” 🙂
When I think about in those terms (‘system’!), I end up chuckling at myself. I don’t think I have a system. But here’s my process.
I read a LOT, every single day. And I have written about why I do and how it helps me.
When I read, I jot down thoughts on what my opinion is, on things that interest, intrigue, outrage and confound me. Where do I do this? On Google Keep. I find Keep very handy since it works across the web and mobile seamlessly. I pin a couple of notes as prominent, on-going notes where I add-delete stuff, and keep on adding newer notes as needed.
When I want to expand my thoughts on something, I go to my Keep notes and think on what I have written.
And when I want to write on one topic there, Keep comes up short, because it is meant only for short notes. So I use this Brave (or Chrome too) browser add-on called Quick Write Text Editor that is a cloud-based, distraction-free writer (I’m typing on it as I write this!) that also gives a character/word count as I type (useful for LinkedIn/Twitter posts).
Could I not write on Google Docs or Microsoft Word doc? Of course, but they seem too cumbersome to open and start writing given the many formatting options they come with. Quick Write has no formatting visible (it is adequately hidden inside an unnamed ‘Settings’ button at the bottom right). And it auto-saves what I write.
Once I’m done writing something, I copy-paste it to a Keep note. And I color-code it based on where I intend to post/share it – LinkedIn, Twitter etc.
I use Google Docs or Microsoft Word (I have a Microsoft 365 Family subscription that comes in very handy since I share it with few more laptops and tablets at home, for the kids’ school work, as needed, even though their predominant work too is on Google tools online) when I want to share something, either through email (as an attachment) or as a cloud-share.
Given this background, one specific point in this ‘Google blew a ten-year lead‘ blog post took me by surprise.
“Docs still shows page breaks by default! The formatting is tired and stuck in the you-might-print-this-out paradigm”
This is an interesting criticism because it blames Google for replicating the Microsoft Word setting as-is, but for the cloud. So, page breaks and print-led page setting that is meant for a standard A4 sized sheet.
And a majority of my writing doesn’t adhere to an A4 sized intent at all (the only thing that does is the invoice I raise on my clients!). They are just paragraphs after paragraphs that I write on Quick Write Text Editor and copy-paste on Google Keep notes.
I have tried most of the other tools mentioned in that blog post – Notion, Airtable etc. They seem prohibitively intimidating to me when all I want to do is jot down notes, much like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. But I do realize that an A4-sized intent is a legitimate use-case too, and Google anyway has that plus Keep-style shorter notes tool too in the same ecosystem.
But it also looks like Google is thinking ahead, beyond the A4-sized formats. Take a look at the forthcoming version of G-suite. It includes a screen where the Word is inside an email, seamlessly.
So that is my ‘system’ 🙂
Where do you write? And why did you choose the tool where you write?
PS: The cover pic is a very different kind of ‘write’ – I realize that 🙂