Why Writers Need to Learn Markdown
If you often write in content management systems such as WordPress or use fancy writing tools such as ByWord, you’ve probably heard of Markdown.
Markdown is, essentially, a simplified version of HTML used to format the text of your posts. Over the past year, it has gained immense popularity amongst writers thanks to its easy-to-learn syntax. But why should you care to learn it, especially if you already know HTML?
It Will Increase Your Speed
If you are a web writer who is expected to know basic HTML, you know how much time it can take to just bold a word. Even with WYSIWYG editors, you are often forced to manually adjust the HTML to get rid of artifacts that stubbornly persist.
By taking the complexity out of formatting using recognizable asterisks, underscores, and pound symbols, formatting will become a part of your writing rather than an annoying afterthought. And unlike HTML, formatting in Markdown only takes a few days to become proficient at.
Your Work Will No Longer Be Marred By Ugly HTML
Editing an article that is formatted with HTML is quite a jarring experience. With so many tags, it is difficult to even see the words you care to edit. Markdown is designed to make the task of editing your work in plain-text much simpler. According to the creator of Markdown, John Gruber, that is the whole point.
Formatting should not dominate the text of your document. Markdown makes sure that your formatting delegates itself to the background rather than commandeering your entire paragraph.
Apps Support Markdown
As Markdown increases in popularity, a number of apps have chosen to support it. This probably includes your favorite content management system or simple writing app. It is also used in more subtle ways, such as in the messaging platform Slack, which favors using Markdown over providing a point-and-click formatting option.
Everyone is Using It
Normally, “everyone is doing it” is not a good reason to do anything. But there is always an exception to the rule and Markdown is one of those exceptions. Additionally, I know of a handful of publications that encourage their writers to use Markdown when turning in pieces. While it is a long way off from being required by editors, it certainly doesn’t hurt to make their life easier.
Keep yourself ahead of the curve and start learning Markdown today.