A recent post concerning copy-and-pasting content into WordPress brought up a consistent question about the importance of drafting outside your blogging system in the first place.
At first it seemed so obvious a strategy that I had to pause a moment to reflect on the reasons why I really apply this practice every single day – and it didn’t take me but a second to remember the many tragic situations where I’ve lost thousands of words and more blog posts than I like to admit due to user error, software, or a random fluke!
As a result I’ve developed the very useful practice of drafting outside the native WordPress environment and haven’t lost a post since.
The point is this: The reason you draft outside of WordPress is because there’s less of a chance of losing your hard work!
You Goal: Stay in Complete Control
The biggest thing you need to remember is that your blog content and your writing process and efforts need to be entirely under your control, from the point that you write your first word until you’re ready to hit the “Publish” button.
And there are a lot of things that are already outside of your control so you best do everything you can to maximize what you can!
Here are a few things that you are not in complete control of and that might cause you some serious heartache:
- Internet Connection – How many times have I been dropped from a local WiFi only to find out after I hit the “Save Draft” button or “Publish”? Too many times and I’ve lost all my work!
- Browser – Unfortunately you’re also not in control of your browser, even if it is Google Chrome (which I use and find to be the most stable). I’m not sure how many times I’ve been drafting and then my browser blows up without any reason – bye bye blog post!
- Other Software, Hardware – There is other software on your computer that is competing for resources and it’s happened more than once where one of them blew up which resulted in forcing me to reboot. Doh! This also includes any hardware challenges that you might have, especially if you have an older machine. I’ve also had my keyboard freeze up for no reason too… sheesh!
- Power – This seems obvious but if you’re like me then you might get in the “zone” so deeply that you really forget everything around you including how much power your local machine has.
- Fluke – In an attempt to capture everything else that can go completely wrong I categorize this last section as simply “fluke;” there are things that just randomly have happend that have caused me to loss my blog post like dropping my laptop, spilling coffee on my keyboard, to falling asleep while writing – the list goes on and on. You probably have some good (and sad) stories to share as well.
Sure, some of you might mention that WordPress itself auto-saves your Revisions but that is still dependent on your browser working all the time and your internet connection. And, if you’ve turned off Revisions (because they can take up a lot of space in your database) or limited them then you have to look outside of WordPress.
So how do you minimize the chances of you losing your blog post? The best situation is to use a piece of software that minimizes the dependencies on the things above (although not completely).
I looked for a system that does the following:
- Doesn’t require a constant internet connection to function and/or work.
- Auto-saves my work on the fly, if possible.
- Software that is as light as possible (not resource intensive, etc).
- Is readily available for me to use always.
Why? Because not only is the app super-fast, is native to the operating system, always available and has a very small resource footprint, it also has an auto-save feature!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been booted from my computer or something else to find the auto-saved document waiting for me when I return!
All you have to do is goto Preferences, Open and Save and you’ll see it below:
Pretty sweet, right? Even so I have developed a very robust habit of hitting “Command + S” to save my work constantly throughout the drafting process to be extra safe.
The point is ultimately this: Find a system that can get you in control of your drafts and blog content so that you don’t lose them!
There are tons of great apps out there, both free and paid, that work well and you’ll ultimately want to use what’s the most comfortable for you!
So, what app(s) do you use to draft outside of WordPress? Share them with the community!
[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]