Periods of creative output can change over time. A day or week or year might be filled with words overflowing from your mind, while the next might only see a trickle. We might feel more social and public at one point, and more introspective and reclusive at another.
As a home for your writing, we think broadly about how your creative output changes over time, and how we can evolve and flow with it. From this long view, we know that we don’t need to bug you with “retention” emails after you’ve signed up; you’ll write when you want to. We know you you may want to take your work elsewhere (even just to keep a personal copy), so we make exporting your data a cinch. And we know you might not want to keep your work on the web anymore — so starting today, you can finally delete your Write.as account on your own.
We're starting this month off with an old habit we dropped for a while — monthly updates! April saw a ton of improvements to the platform, new releases, and new aspects to Write.as that we're excited to share with you here.
Today we're happy to release v2.0 of our command-line interface! Now Pro subscribers can publish to their Write.as account and blogs, and everyone can sync any anonymous posts you've already published.
Our command-line tool is great for power users that want to build Write.as into their normal writing workflow. For example, it can be used in shell scripts or combined with your favorite editor to connect all stages of your writing and publishing process.
In fact, our Linux desktop app is built on top of our command-line tool! So while the app isn't yet updated to take advantage of the CLI's newest features, you can still install this new version, run writeas auth <username>, and then all of your posts published from the desktop app will be connected to your account. Neat, eh?
As mentioned earlier, publishing to your account with the command-line tool is available with a Pro subscription. However, everyone can continue publishing anonymously, and now sync existing posts to their account, for free. We know that many people might've invested time in the CLI assuming that they'd be able to sync their posts one day, so we certainly don't want to prevent that.
With this update out the door, we're quickly moving on to supporting all WriteFreely instances with the command-line tool. Anyone interested should keep an eye on the WriteFreely blog for that update. And as always, we'd love to hear what you think on the forum!
We're excited to bring in 2018 with a long-requested feature: tags for your posts.
To get started, you'll do what you already know how to: include a hashtag in your post, like #newfeatures. Readers will see a clickable link (like that one) to a page that lists out all posts using that hashtag. Each tag even has its own RSS feed, so readers can subscribe to the topics they enjoy!
If you've already included hashtags in your posts, you don't need to lift a finger — all those posts are magically searchable now. If you haven't been tagging your posts, now is a great time to start!
In the future, tags will be even more useful:
Find posts about certain topics among the public blogs on Read Write.as
Search for posts by multiple tags, instead of just one
One of the most exciting parts about building a simple app and sending it out to the world is seeing how people use it. Often you'll see people find new uses that you never imagined — other times, they'll show you exactly what you should build. While a plain writing-focused blogging platform has been perfect for most people, we also saw some wishing to spruce things up with some graphics.
So today we build that directly into Write.as with our early launch of Snap.as!
Now Pro writers can upload photos, save a note with each (that'll come in handy later), and get the bit of text you need to add an image to your post. Like Write.as, it's simple, ad-free, and respectful of your time — and unlike free image hosting services, Snap.as is supported directly by you. That means we'll keep building it with your best interests in mind.
This is just the start for us. Next you'll be able to import your photos already hosted on free services (so they have a permanent home), and eventually you'll be able to share beautiful, simple galleries. Check out our roadmap to see what's ahead, and as always, let us know how you like Snap.as!
As we continue to grow each month, we're seeing more and more writers migrate to Write.as from other platforms. We've already helped some move from Ghost (message us if you're thinking of doing the same), but there have also been writers who just want to move posts on their own. So we've just made it easier for them to sync up their post dates, and in the process enabled some new abilities for everyone else.
Now everyone can edit the metadata for their posts. If you publish a blog post and find that you don't like its slug (the last part in its URL), now you can change it; if we didn't save the correct language with your post, now you can fix it. And if you'd like to change the initial “created” / published date on any post, now you can do that, too — we even support future dates so you can schedule posts.
To edit your post's metadata, first publish it, then press the Edit link at the top of the page. You'll see a new icon in the top right that'll take you to that post's metadata editor.
A few things to note:
You can't schedule cross-posts, because editing the “created” date requires publishing a post first. However, we may support this in the future.
Changing the slug of any blog post will gracefully update the link on your blog home page, but will break any manual or external links to that post — your previous slug won't redirect to the new one. Be careful when updating this, or do it soon after immediately publishing to prevent broken links.
We hope this little added feature will make Write.as more useful for everyone. As always, let us know how you like it or if there's any way we can make it better!
April was a month of relatively small changes that brought big improvements to the product. Recently, we've seen certain patterns emerge in how writers use Write.as, and last month we tweaked things to make them work more closely to what users expect.
We were also excited to launch a long- and frequently-requested feature, static pages.
Static pages. Now you can create an “About me” or other pages from a normal post — and it's super simple to do. Currently for Pro subscribers only.
Delete blogs. Now subscribers with multiple blogs can easily delete extra ones from their account. Deleting a blog automatically makes its posts anonymous, so now blogs can be used for things like temporary public spaces for your writing.
Export posts as zipped text files. To further our goals for data freedom, we've made it possible to export all of your posts as plain text files. And you don't need to be a subscriber to do it.
Nicer page titles. While we're flexible on how we pull out the title of a post, we noticed many posts still didn't have a great title for the reader's browser or search results. So now posts will always have a relevant title, even if you don't explicitly add one.
Markdown fixes. We made our Markdown more strict, so it works more closely to what we've outlined in our formatting guide. This fixed indented text, as well as certain horizontal rules.
When you can speak your mind safely, the words come more easily. Mental blocks built by others' expectations are removed. The cogs of your brain are free to move again.
But you don't need to be alone to be free from expectations — you only need the right environment. Write.as aims to be that environment, from our conscientious apps to our small community of writers, all publishing under pseudonyms.
We know that great writers take the time to read and absorb the ideas around them, continually growing in style, method, and thought. Exposure to a variety of ideas helps us grow faster and see things in ways we never could've on our own. So a complete environment for recording our best thoughts needs a strong, constant source of inspiration.
Today we're opening read write.as to more writers, both subscriber and free. You don't even need to sign up to submit your writing. Now anyone can write freely, and share their words anonymously with our growing community.
Everyone will now see a “read.write.as” option in the editor menu when you've chosen to publish as Anonymous. Subscribers' posts will go straight to read.write.as, just like their public blog posts do, and free users' posts will get a pass from the Write.as moderation team first, to be sure we don't get inundated with spam or other harmful junk.
We recently published a set of community guidelines to help everyone understand why we might not accept a given post. We'll be continually updating this policy as more people write and new questions come up, but ultimately we want the writers to dictate their own guidelines. What kind of community do you want to see? How can we balance free speech and a safe environment? Keep in touch and help shape our fledgling space.
We tell all kinds of stories in a million different ways. Language is flexible enough to live on paper, ride on air waves, or get digitally accelerated to any corner of the globe. And that last ability creates language in many forms: images and text on blogs, websites, or social media.
The blog is where we at Write.as spend much of our rumination. We believe the format can (and should) be more than “just a blog.” But instead of a full-blown website, we want a beautiful, portable digital work.