I’ve been blogging for almost 12 years now. I’ve got multiple blogs on multiple platforms – and have moved my blogs more often than I care to admit. One of the wonderful things about geneablogging is how quickly those “little stories” we post about our family history grow into substantial story collections. Some years back I started copy/pasting them into different publishing projects to share with my family.
I got a real wake-up call when the Posterous blog platform was shut down. I had our family’s “news center” there along with several other blogs. Try to imagine the scramble to save all that content and then find a suitable new home for those sites. It was almost a year before the news center was fully operational again.
Sure I back up my blogs regularly and even save export copies of them every quarter. That protects me from disaster, but doesn’t make it any easier to organize and repurpose my story collection when I want to build a new family history project. I also want to “future-proof” those stories by saving them in Markdown format.
Today I use Byword [Mac – $11.99, iOS – $5.99] as an offline blog editor that supports Markdown. Byword will publish to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogram and Evernote (requires a $4.99 in-app purchase to add this publishing capability). It supports both iCloud and Dropbox for cloud storage and it also makes a nice mobile writing solution for Scrivener. I still have a couple of writing projects in Scrivener and each syncs to a different Dropbox folder. By creating a new blog post in the appropriate folder, once that post is published it becomes a part of that project the next time I open Scrivener. Oh, did I mention that Scrivener imports from and compiles to Markdown files?
Mac users can now take advantage of the Ulysses writing platform app [Mac – $44.99 and iPad – $19.99] to develop their blog-to-book workflows. Ulysses uses a library package (similar to the Photos library) for managing manuscripts, but also supports external files. It doesn’t have a blog publishing capability so I continue to use Byword as my blog editor. Each Byword blog post is saved in a Dropbox folder which is set up in Ulysses as an external folder. Copies of those posts are easily dragged into any writing project.
I’m still learning Ulysses, but it’s quickly becoming my writing platform of choice. It’s much easier to use that Scrivener, but while Ulysses does support notes and attachments within the platform, it isn’t as robust as the similar features in Scrivener. However, having the companion iPad app does a lot to mitigate that shortcoming.
This workflow not only protects my story files from disaster, using Markdown is a step towards future-proofing the content of those stories – saving them from the scrapyard of obsolete software.
Life is good.