Automatic backup in Inspire: so you don’t need to worry about losing writing

The world collapses in front of you when you lose your two-hours’ writing to not hit the save button in time… And inevitably, your writing efficiency takes the brunt.

What’s with the save setting? Can we not have autosave at all?

Yes, of course, you can have autosave. And this is what Inspire does.

It automatically saves all your writing, so there’s no save button. Auto-save plus cloud sync, you’ll never have to worry about losing any of your writing.

To restore your content:

Choose a Backup Location

  1. Go to File › Preferences… › Backup.
  2. Select the location where you want your backups to be stored.
  3. Click OK.

Restore from a Backup

  1. Go to File › Browse Backups….
  2. Double-click the backup file you want to restore.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to restore your files.

Goals in Inspire: keep track of your writing process

A goal helps you keep track of your writing progress. For example, you can set a goal of 5,000 words for your work today. Nothing trumps the excitement of seeing yourself reaching a goal!

The goal in Inspire measures the following metrics:

  • characters
  • character (no spaces)
  • words

To attach a goal to a sheet, click the paperclip icon () on the top left of the editor, you invoke the attachments window. Click Goal, then set the goal for your sheet:

Add a goal to your Inspire sheet.
Add a goal to the Inspire sheet

Or you can invoke the goal window by pressing F5, and then set your goal as per your own needs.

There you go.

Enjoy each step you take towards your goal!

Notes in Inspire: add your thoughts to the sheet

A note to the sheet could be a way of reminding yourself what the sheet is mostly about.

If you’re writing a novel or a script in Inspire, it’d be faster for you to locate the sheets you want by going through the notes. You could add a note with text like “It’s the POV of the antagonist.”, “1st twist”, etc.

To add a note to your sheet, click the paperclip icon () on the top left of the editor, you invoke the attachments window. Click Note:

Add a note to your sheet.
Add a note to your sheet.

Add your note in the text field accordingly. If you want it to show on your sheet, click Show. Then click OK to save and exit.

Or you can let the note shown on the sheet by pressing F4, and then add your note there.

An example of the note.
How your note will look like

You’ll see the note pasted on your sheet. You can drag and drop it to where you find most comfortable.

Tags in Inspire: tell your sheet status with just a glance

If you have a thousand sheets in Inspire, it must be hard to tell which are drafts ready for review and which are ready for publishing. Tags are the little helpers in this case.

By clicking the paperclip icon () on the top left of the editor, or by using the shortcut keys Ctrl + 4, you invoke the attachments window:

Add tags to your Inspire sheets.
Add a tag to your sheet.

Feel free to add any tags for your sheet here for your own reference:

How your sheet list looks like with the tags in Inspire
How your sheet list looks like with the tags.

Can Inspire share the same tags with my WordPress website?

Sure, it can.

Let’s say that you have a tag in both your WordPress site and Inspire called ‘Markdown writing’. Then you add the ‘Markdown writing’ tag to the Inspire sheet, and decide to publish it to your site. You’ll then see the tag ‘Markdown writing’ added to the post automatically. No need for you to repeat the tag-adding process again.

Sheet list: organize your projects and texts

When you open Inspire, you can see 3 columns from left to right: Library & Groups, Sheet list, and the Editor.

Sheet list is the column in the middle. It contains a bunch of “classic documents”, except that they don’t require a “title” or a “filename” or anything as such.

Sheet list in Inspire.
Sheet list in Inspire.

In other words, you don’t need to scratch your head to come up with a title before you write. This is how Inspire fastens your writing workflow. On the improving writing efficiency front, every step counts.

Here are what you can do in the sheet list to improve your writing efficiency:

Change sort order: for better sheet organization

Here, you can change the sort order of your sheets in a group.

To do so, just select the group you want to sort, and hover your mouse over to the top-right corner of the group, and select one of the options you see here:

Change your sheets sort order in Inspire.
Change your sheets sort order.

Searching for keywords: locate your sheet faster

Search for keyword
Search for keywords

You can also filter your sheets by typing in the keyword in the Search field, so you’ll only see sheets with the searched keyword listed.

Display dates in the sheet list: keep track of the last update

In Inspire, you can show the dates of a sheet in the sheet list. To do so, you can go to View > Sheet Preview, then make sure that you’ve ticked Dates .

View the updated dates of your sheets in Inspire.
View the updated dates of your sheets.

By default, you can see the updated date above each sheet:

An example of the updated date on a sheet.
An example of the updated date on a sheet.

Add to Favorites: direct access to your favored sheets

By adding your sheets to favorites, you’ll see them in the Favorites group in the Library, so you don’t have to spend your time searching for them in the group hierarchy. Such direct access leads to a smoother workflow.

Add a sheet to your Favorite group.
Add a sheet to your Favorite group.

Duplicate: copy your current sheet

Just as the name entails, by duplicating the selected sheet, you’ll get an identical copied sheet in the same group. So you can move it around to other groups if you need, without having to manually copy and paste the entire sheet to a new one.

Split Sheet…: split a sheet by heading and/or divider

If you want to split your long document into shorter, handy chunks, like when you’re working on large projects such as novels, it’s done almost immediately on Inspire.

To split your sheet, you can right-click the sheet and click Split Sheet…. Then choose how you like the sheet to be divided, and click OK.

Split your work with long content by headings and/or divider
Split your work with long content by headings and/or divider

There, you now have a group of sheets stored in a new group.

Merge sheets: join multiple sheets into one

Inspire aims to let you write whole books, and you’ll probably need more than one single sheet of content for these. So, merging multiple sheets into a master one for later use is of great help. Here is how you can do it:

Press the Ctrl key and select the sheets you want to merge. Right-click the sheets highlighted and click Merge Sheets.

Merge multiple sheets into one
Merge multiple sheets into one

There, you have your master sheet created.

Preview…: see how your work will look like

Right-click your sheet and select Preview…, you’ll see how your sheet will look like when it’s published to the website.

You can also Preview multiple selected sheets to see how are the sheets doing when merged.

Export…: export to a host of standard formats, publish to WordPress or Medium

When you finish your writing, how do you want the world to see it? Inspire allows you to export your work to numerous standard formats (Text, HTML, DOCX, PDF, etc.). You can also publish it directly from within the app to your WordPress website or a Medium account.

You can either 1) click the export button on the editor, or 2) right-click the sheet and select Export… to invoke the export option.

How to export your work from Inspire
How to export your work from Inspire

This is what the export panel looks like

From left to right are what you can do in the export panel: you can change export formats, you can directly export, or see draft, you can change the export settings
What you can do in the export panel

From left to right, up to down:

  • You can choose what format you want your work to be export as,Text, HTML, PDF, DOCX, or InspireSheet. You can also publish your work to WordPress or Medium as well.
  • Copy to clipboard
  • Preview… allows you to see what your exported sheet will look like
  • Open in… lets you open your sheet in available applications
  • Save to… opens and saves your sheet to your local folder
  • Publish… allows you to publish to WordPress and Medium
  • Cancel if you have second thought about exporting

Export multiple sheets

You can also export multiple sheets all at once.

When you selected the sheets, all of them will be “stitched together”, like a large chunk of content. You then can decide what format you want the merged sheet to be in, just like a regular sheet.

Move to Trash: move unwanted sheets from the sheet list

When you move your sheets to the Trash group, they’ll stay there, until you erase them manually. But please be aware that manual erased sheets can’t be retrieved, so please do so with extra discreet.

Other features for the sheet list

  • Add a new sheet: shortcut keys Ctrl + N
  • Previous sheet: shortcut keys Ctrl + Up
  • Next sheet: shortcut keys Ctrl + Down

Why Distraction-free Writing Is More Important Than Ever?

As a writer, it can’t be a surprise to you, really, considering the number of distractions and disturbance to your writing workflow. The buzzes and bling from your phones, the pop-up notifications on the corner of your desktop from your clients, coworkers chatting nearby, kids in the house screaming for “MUM!” or “DAD!” if you’re a stay-at-home freelancer… the list goes on and on!

It seems that everything is vying for your attention, but we only have 24 hours a day. So it’s important that you do more in less time. One simple way to get you there is to stay focus.

And to do that, removing the distractions around you could be step one. In other words, you need to create yourself a distraction-free writing environment first. But how exactly can you do that?

How to stay focused when writing?

It’d be incredibly frustrating and stressful when you have to remind yourself to stay focused constantly. But it’s actually not that bad. Just as the (made-up) saying goes:” To get distracted is human, to maintain 100% focus, divine.”

The important message here is that we can sharpen our focus, and keep moving closer to the divine end. And rest assured – your way to being distraction-free won’t be as hard as you may think.

Let’s start from some of the easiest things you can do, one step at a time until you reach the distraction-free state of mind:

  1. Prioritize your writing order. Ask yourself this:”What is more urgent and more important now?”
  2. Don’t multi-task. You have very limited attention, so save it for what’s more important, especially when it comes to writing.
  3. Set your writing goal and keep track of your writing progress.
  4. Remove all distractions. Mute notifications from your email, browser, and social media, go full-screen with your editor, and if possible, choose the theme you love for your editor to help you stay undistributed.
  5. Choose a distraction-free writing app that equips with all the necessary features for such a writing environment.

You may find ticking the first 4 boxes quite easy, since they’re pretty much what you do every day, and you just have to do them well enough. But what about choosing the distraction-free writing app?

Before you start Googling the above-mentioned keywords, I suggest that you keep in mind some of the most important features for a distraction-free editor.

What features do a distraction-free editor need to have?

To create yourself a distraction-free writing environment, the text editor or writing app needs to be equipped with the at least following key elements:

  1. The mouse is used as little as possible and there is no need for you to lift your fingers from the keyboard – It keeps you from distractions such as adjusting the text format.
  2. Defines text with simple markups rather than formats – This is how you won’t be distributed by deciding what format to choose for your content.
  3. Content is the only thing on the screen – No windows, no tabs, no menus, no status bar….. If it’s not content-related, it shouldn’t be there.
  4. Saves automatically & instantly and there better be no files or folders – You don’t deserve to start your writing by creating a file name first, nor witness your work going down the drain just because you forget to hit save every 5 minutes.
  5. Supports dark mode theme – So you can immerse yourself in writing at night without fatiguing your eyes.

These features are what make an editor be able to boost your productivity. You wouldn’t say no to higher efficiency, would ya?

That said, it is not strange that writing apps or editors such as Ulysses are getting more popular than ever. But it’s such a pity that developers for Ulysses haven’t created Ulysses for Windows, and they even claimed that they will never consider a Windows version of Ulysses. Too bad for its die-hard fans.

Luckily, Inspire Writer fills the blank. It creates a distraction-free writing environment on Windows, just so you can write elegant. Everything you want to see in a distraction-free editor, you can find it on Inspire.

Inspire now offers a 10-day free trial period, feel free to download Inspire Writer from here, then give it a try and see if it works out great for you in creating a distraction-free writing environment, like how it does for me.

Inspire Writer, distraction free editor for writing of all kinds

Over to you…

What’s your story about staying focused on your writing? Please feel free to let me know in the comments section. Also, if there are something that I’ve missed, or if you have a question that’s not covered here, pop it into the comments and I’ll be sure to answer it.

Happy writing! 🙂

What is Markdown – and why you should write, edit & format your work with Markdown?

For writers like you and me, writing is about sending out the messages you want to world to hear.

When you dig deeper, you’ll see that writing actually includes the following elements:

  • organizing your thoughts;
  • writing what’s in your head;
  • editing your work to make it top-notch; and
  • adding visual touches so your readers will see what you’re saying.

Much easier said than done! It’s not surprising that so many people find writing so hard to do. But it doesn’t have to – there are so many ways that can make the writing process easier, and even enjoyable.

Markdown, which is designed ‘to make it easy to read, write, and edit prose’, is one of the many that make your writing enjoyable.

Wait… what is Markdown?

Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax. It enables you to write with a light, easy markup language.

Compared with WYSIWYG editors such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, a Markdown editor is unique in its own ways:

Markdown Writing Separates Text Attributes From Formats

When you’re writing in a WYSIWYG editor like Word, you need to write and constantly set format for your writing at the same time.

For instance, after you type out the title for your work, you need to get it selected and change its format – enlarge it, make it bold and/or make it align center, so you and your readers will know that this is the title, not something else.

You may also need a template to unify all your writing. In this case, you have to select the text that is supposed to be the title and set its format as “Heading”, so the text will be enlarged, bold, and/or aligned center.

Conversely, Markdown is a writing format itself. In other words, all your formats are added when you’re writing, so all you need to do is just write, not format-adding needed for your work.

For example, you add a # (hashtag) before you type out the title, and you define it as a heading. That is to say, the text format is the last thing you should worry about when writing with Markdown.

When you are at the last stage of your creation, i.e. when you export your work, the style you define for your work will grant it related formats by its attributes.

For example, when you export your work to WP Twenty Sixteen in Inspire Writer, you’ll see the heading aligned left:

Export from Inspire Writer to a WordPress Twenty Sixteenth theme website
Export from Inspire Writer to a WordPress Twenty Sixteenth theme website

When you choose to export as Georgia, you’ll see it aligned center:

Export from Inspire Writer to a Geogia theme website
Export from Inspire Writer to a Georgia theme website

That is to say, Markdown defines WHAT the text is, not HOW it is.

Simply put, the text format, or render, should be decided at the final stage, by your text attributes and the style you choose. It’s not what something you should, or have to worry about when you’re writing.

That said, markdown creates a distraction-free writing environment where you won’t be disturbed by what format to choose. Say goodbye to the mouse, keep your fingers stay on top of the keyboard and make your writing flow.

Markdown Writing Transfers Your Work to HTML in a Better Way

There is no doubt that writing nowadays can’t walk far away from HTML: Your work will eventually show up as HTML one way or another.

Have you ever tried to transfer the .DOCX file you composed with Word to an HTML file? If you have, and you’ve read its source file, you’d be appalled to see how much garbage it contains.

But work written with markdown is totally another story.

Your work will be transferred to clean, light HTML files. These are the types of HTML files that you need. For instance, you can put them directly onto your personal website.

Moreover, if your website is built on WordPress, you can hit the publish button in Inspire, and your work will be published to your site with just this one single click.

Markdown Writing Transfers Your Work Into Formats of Various Kinds

Markdown editors such as Inspire Writer can easily transfer your work into formats you would normally use: HTML as we mentioned, TXT, PDF and DOCX document for Word, you name it.

You can also export your work to a common markdown (.MD) file, so you can publish it to platforms such as GitHub.

Try Inspire Writer Today!

Apart from what have been mentioned, Markdown is perfect for anyone who thinks plain text is too basic, but word processors are too bloated.

Among all the Markdown writing app, Inspire Writer stands out from the crowd with its simple, clean interface, and the perfect distraction-free writing environment that it creates. Its Markdown syntax is very easy to learn too!

If you haven’t tried Inspire Writer yet, give it a shot. Download Inspire Writer from here to enjoy the smooth Markdown writing process that boosts your writing proficiency and productivity. It now offers a 10-day free trial, in which you can enjoy all the paid features and free tech support. 😉

Inspire Writer Markdown Writing Editor
Inspire Writer Markdown Writing Editor

*BTW, this article is written with and published from within Inspire Writer. 😉