I really don’t understand why most people in the Humanities insist on using Microsoft Word to write their material. Universities habituate their undergraduate humanities students to Word and they really ought to stop it. I recently got a shock to my anti-Word stance when I wrote an article and was looking to submit it to a journal that only takes MS Word format articles. The journal also had a really nasty custom citation format, which complicated it even further. In the past I’ve written about using LaTeX and other tools to write my PhD. I start in Scrivener, and export to LaTeX for layout. LaTeX of course won’t export to Word’s .docx format without a lot of rigmarole. I needed another tool. On the other hand Scrivener has excellent abilities to work with snippets of text, which are presented as index cards which you can rearrange – excellent for organising your thoughts and notes. Its only major defect is that it uses RTF underneath the hood to store your text.
They suggest using Multimarkdown format (and have some built in tools to support it) but the underlying data is still saved in RTF replete with WYSIWYG markup. You have to fiddle with it in order to force it look like a plain text editor (e.g. set the font to Courier). The developers should just create a “plain text mode” which not only behaves like a plain text editor – it also stores the content as plain text. This one flaw prevents me from fully embracing Scrivener. Nowadays for me it’s just an organisation tool I use when my writing needs to be extensively re-organised. Instead I’ve fully embraced Markdown syntax in plain text files via a tool called Pandoc. This is a command-line tool that converts to and from many formats. It can convert Markdown to RTF, DOCX, HTML, LaTeX, or PDF (via LaTeX) among many others. Pandoc has saved my bacon!
My editor of choice is Sublime Text. It was BBEdit, which still sometimes gets used for some things. Sublime Text is easily extensible via Packages, and it’s easy to program your own. I wouldn’t fully recommend Sublime Text to a non-programmer though – even the preferences are just stored as files with JSON objects! I’m still running Pandoc on the command line at the moment rather than using one of the Pandoc integration packages in Sublime Text. ]. However it doesn’t really fully support academically-styled Markdown – it doesn’t know how to do Pandoc’s citations for example. Also it tends to default to write its files into Apple’s iCloud, which means you can’t get at them on the command line. In short, I am quite happily using plain text files and Pandoc to organise all my writing needs. Plain text being plain text, I can easily switch tools to handle specific tasks which that tool is particularly better at. I can write my thesis on my iPad (and I frequently do, using a bluetooth keyboard, which makes a fantastic portable writing toolkit). I can reproduce any journal’s custom citation format easily (and switch between them), and target whatever document format they prefer. I can still use LaTeX for its fantastic layout abilities which creates far nicer looking PDFs than Word ever can. And if anyone still requires it in Word format, I can send them that too.
Assess your skill sets. Plenty of consultants make a living doing what they did for a company and now doing it as their own business. Find your emotion or catalyst that drives you to take your dreams somewhere. Laid low by a layoff? Worried about your prospects? Let these four reinvention stories inspire you. 0 of 8192 characters usedPost CommentNo HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Once a friend said to me, “Unless you’re hungry, you’ll never pursue that dream”. I believe her because I haven’t. I keep flipping from one thing to another. Is being contented and happy a handicap or is there a way up from here, too? Julie- right you are ! I started making a living blogging and business writing on my own after being laid off and having a 6 month old baby.
I have a husband to rely on but I had never been without a job so it was my own form of desperation. Bravo. Thank you for addressing this important topic. Now I need to find enough desperation to compel me to write great things. Success can come out of any storm because it is within you. Once and a while I come across a writer on hubs that stands out from all others ! Your writing is complete , intense and always so interesting ! That makes you awesome and amazing ! Have a great Fall Season. I’m looking forward to spring. You get what you think about most of the time. The missing key ingredient is “you get what you don’t want as well.” if you think about it. Any focus on bills or lack – creates more bills and more lack. Totally excellent in spite of the fact a weeee bit of the info is dated. Written in 1910 – About a 2 hour read. I loved your quote at the beginning of this article.