On Writing Simply

Category: #personal Tags: #writing #writeas #iawriter #markdown

There is something to be said for simplifying options, for choosing simplicity.

Lately I’ve been examining the extent to which I have been focusing on simplicity in terms of writing. My writing style has always been simple. Simple language. Simple sentences. Even simple punctuation, at least in regard to my fiction.

Do not use semicolons... All they do is show you've been to college. —Kurt Vonnegut

My focus on simplicity in terms of putting words to the page is obvious, but I’ve been revisiting how I have sought simplicity in the less obvious aspects of my writing—the aspects outside of the words themselves.

Going forward, I’ll be covering my Holy Trinity of simple writing:


When I started blogging again, I knew I needed a simple platform. I didn't want something with too many bells and whistles, such as Wordpress, because I didn't want to spend all of my time customizing my blog and agonizing over finding the perfect plugins and sidebar widgets rather than actually writing. However, I did still want the blog to be aesthetically pleasing. I didn’t want it to look like a turd.

Somehow, in my consultation of le Google, I stumbled upon write.as.

In addition to the points I made above, some people appreciate write.as for its privacy policy—the platform even allows you to post anonymously.

And while the platform is simple, it does allow for some customization via CSS and Javascript, which I have utilized during my usage.

I was interested in Ghost.org when I was looking for a new blogging home, as I had previously hosted Flirting With Nihilism (RIP In Peace) using Ghost on a DigitalOcean droplet which crapped out on me after an update. (Do we see a pattern yet?) Despite my love for the Ghost platform, I couldn’t justify $29 a month for their cheapest plan. Luckily, write.as has pricing plans which are much simpler for my budget.

But the platform's simplest feature is likely my absolute favorite:


When I first heard about Markdown, I figured it was some programming language I was too stupid to comprehend, so I wasn’t eager to investigate it further. But when I eventually looked into Markdown when running my Ghost blog, I realized it was a pleasantly simple option for writing because the syntax is easy to remember and it's cleaner and easier on the eyes than HTML.

My love affair with Markdown likely led me to my writing app of choice.

iA writer

After I purchased iA writer, I was worried that the app might be too simple. As in, could I justify my purchase? I mean, the app is just so barebones, so...simple. But as I used it more, I realized that writer's simplicity is exactly what makes it my perfect writing app.

Is it perfect for formatting a novel? Meh, probably not. But I do suppose it can be done, especially if you keep the structure and formatting of your novel simple. (You probably ain't writing House of Leaves on writer.) And I don’t think writer would be ideal for screenwriting, but if you're into that, you likely already have your own screenwriting software.

But as I've already hinted, I find writer to be great for actual writing. For putting words on the screen.

Part of a work-in-progress blog post is inside the blog post. It's a blogging Inception!

writer has an awesome distraction-free mode. It uses Markdown. It has the option to turn on or off word count. You can use Focus Mode, which allows you to hone in on your current sentence or paragraph. writer has pretty much everything I need. And if writer doesn’t have it, I probably don’t really need it. Therefore, writer has everything I need. HOLY CIRCULAR LOGIC, BATMAN!


At the end of the day, you should use the tools and processes that work for you. You do you, fam. But keep in mind that sometimes the simplest option is all you need.