How to Write, Edit, and Format Offline
You don’t need to be online to prepare your online content.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I made the decision to pull the plug on our internet. It was too expensive. Connectivity and speed was an issue half the month. And if there was a wind storm or it was too cold, it wouldn’t work altogether.
But, that was the price we paid for living in the country I guess.
Well, until a few weeks ago. Now we have been untethered from the bad service and high prices. And while it has definitely freed up our finances some, it also had freed up my ability to write. And enjoy other things.
There have been some incredible advantages to not having the internet at home.
And it has forced me to rethink the way I prepare my writing online. After all, I am trying to become an online Authorprenuer. And it sure could be hard if I don’t have the internet at home. So, thanks to Shayne Seymour, I thought it might be good to share how I’m working this out.
After all, how do we write, edit, and format if we are forced to be offline?
Below, I will share exactly how I do this at this time. This is the process that I am basically learning as I go. Especially, because there are hick-ups along the way and unforeseeable issues because I have never done this before.
How I Write, Edit, Format Offline
First of all, this is completely experimental. There is a good likelihood that I will make a lot of changes form the date I post this article to the time I fine-tune my system. And what is more likely, is that I will learn how others do it from this post!
However, this is where we begin.
This is probably one of the easier aspects to do offline. Though, we must start with a program that doesn’t require the internet. Not to say that you can’t use a program that will sync up later on when you do have internet access.
After all, I use Evernote downloaded onto my MacBook. I have three ‘Notebooks’ on my Evernote to help with writing. The first is ‘Ideas.’ The second is ‘Drafts.’ And the third is ‘Edits.’ And this is where most of my work happens.
I also use this program because it will sync with the internet later so I can use it on my phone or the web app. This way, when I do have internet access or if I put ideas into my phone, they will sync later. It is also easy to format storage.
Nevertheless, it starts with the program.
And then, I get up every morning and write. Without the internet to get in the way. I can free write two-three stories during my one to a two-hour window. Or I can write one story and edit/research others.
Again, this is the easiest part. Find a program. Start writing.
This is probably the hardest part. And I say that because plenty of our friendly editors have caught my editing mistakes. Without an online program helping me out, I spend my editing reading out loud. And then re-working some of the different aspects of my stories.
A lot of time, during the editing this is where I re-write sections as I research (using my phone) and update. I typically will look at a piece twice offline before getting it online and publishing.
However, if you are an editor, you have probably found two or three mistakes that I didn’t catch along the way. And I’m okay with that, just don’t be rude when you point it out.
Sometimes, if I am not sure if something is correct, I will copy it onto my phone where I have Grammarly review it. Otherwise, I wait to use Grammarly and the Hemingway App until I have internet access to review too.
So, as far as offline editing goes, I read my posts two times out loud. One time looking for basic grammar issues. The other time for flow and structure.
Now, while I free write my drafts I do two formatting items. Mostly so I don’t lose my mind. I will bold all of the titles and subtitles. And I will italics any quotes. Other than that, all formatting comes after editing. I will format everything from titles, subtitles, headings, and quotes down to links.
I tend to zoom out and make sure that the paragraphs and sentences are fairly small. And then make sure there is a lot of white space. This all helps me prepare for final formatting when I copy my story over to Medium or my blog.
The key is to have an idea of what I want in formatting before publishing any of it. This makes it easy for me to submit, publish, and schedule posts all at once the three times a week I have a chance to do it.
3 Tricks to Consistent Publishing
I have also found three other tricks to be sure that I don’t miss a post or am able to publish when I am waiting on a publication to publish something I have submitted. And I thought I would share those with you too.
Especially, as I don’t use this system rigidly.
Trick #1: Create Your Own Publications
I started three publications. The Dad Hammer Pub (Open to Anyone), The Thriving Life Publication (Myself and a few others), and Heaven to Earth Publication (My own pub) are all the places I can post to from my phone because I am an editor/owner for these publications.
So, if it looks like I am not going to be able to go somewhere for the internet to publish posts, I can do shorter ones that I have loaded on my Medium Drafts to publish at any given time.
This helps me keep consistency on Medium. Though, I tend to have more errors and formatting issues for desktops because I have not idea what it looks like until I get to the internet days later. And my phone’s Grammarly keyboard doesn’t always catch everything.
However, this is the best way to keep publishing regular if you are offline at home.
Trick #2: Keep Drafts on Medium Drafts
I mentioned this briefly in Trick #1, but I keep 3–5 drafts on in my drafts section on Medium. This way, I can publish just in case I miss a day or don’t have access on a regularly scheduled day.
This also gives me the ability to edit and format kind of offline when I have everything on my phone already. The key is to always have a post ready, even if it isn’t quite ready.
Trick #3: Write an Ongoing Series
While most of us have a content calendar and we write someone in a series, something I have found useful is to write an ongoing series of posts.
With my Heaven to Earth Publication, I am writing a series on the Gospel of John. I walk through each chapter of the gospel highlighting a verse or two and elaborate more on it.
This helps me have regular content available and makes it easy to knock out 2–3 posts at a time for drafts. It also makes it easy to publish regularly.
Most Important Lesson: Don’t Sweat It!
The first week was pretty rough for me. Not having access to the internet to publish right away in the morning felt like I was going to tank this entire writing thing. And yet, I still received plenty of views, reads, and claps.
And I still got posts published. Even though I am working out my exact plan to do this regularly, I think I am on the right track.
Most of all, people find this fairly entertaining so it seems more people are waiting to see what I post and if it works. So that helps too.
Ultimately, I want it bad enough so I will make it work.
Do you spend most of your time offline writing? If so, how do you make it work? If not, would you consider doing it? Share in the responses below!
Jack Heimbigner is a writer, creative and coach. He lives in the country in Eastern Washington State with his wife, two daughters, and a fierce farm dog. He is the author of Productivity Success. And he is a champion woodchopper and master lawnmower. Learn how to live the dream with his Living the Dream Master Course where you will learn everything I know about achieving our dreams!