Emacs for Writers

Regular readers know I'm fascinated by the stories of professional writers who use Emacs. I've written in the past about Vernor Vinge, Tony Ballantyne, Randall Wood, Urpo Lankinen, and some non-prose writers who use Emacs for their writing.

Now Jay Dixit, a science writer, has given an excellent talk at the New York Emacs Meetup on Emacs for Writers. Dixit, who is not a programmer, talks about his long search for the ideal editor for writing. He tried all the usual suspects—Word, Scrivener, WorkFlowy—but none of them did what he wanted: an outline in the left hand pane and editable text in the right hand pane all of which was manipulable from the keyboard.

After spending some time in writers' forums, someone finally told him he could do what he wanted with Emacs, Org mode, and indirect buffers. As a non-programmer, it took him some time to get things configured appropriately but now he has the exact setup he wanted.

The second half of his talk demonstrates how he uses this functionality in his writing. As usual, his particular workflow may not be precisely what you're after but he's got lots of good ideas and shows that even someone without programming expertise can get Emacs configured to his liking. If you're a writer and tired of Word, take a look at Dixit's talk to see if his ideas make sense for you. Don't worry about having to deliver your manuscript in Word; that's easily handled.

The talk is just over an hour so you'll have to schedule some time.

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