As a pastor, I write A LOT. Every week I write out two sermon manuscripts. At 3,200 words each, my base of writing each week is at least 6,000 words. Add to that the blog posts, emails, website copy, devotionals, outlines for my Sunday School class and midweek prayer meeting. It adds up quickly.
I’ve tried just about every writing app there is. You name it: I’ve used it. I’ve spent months each writing sermons in Microsoft Word, in Google Docs, Pages and in programming text editors you’ve never heard of. I’ve used Scrivener, iA Writer, Ulysses 3 and Byword. I’ve used online markdown editors like Classeur and remark.in. I guess what I’m trying to say is I know a lot about writing apps.
And my favorite, by far, the one that I use as my “daily driver” is Dropbox Paper.
You’ve likely never heard of Dropbox Paper so let me tell you about it:
It’s Part of Dropbox
If you have a Dropbox account (and who doesn’t) then you have Dropbox Paper already. Simply sign into your Dropbox account on a browser and click the “Paper” link from the menu. If you don’t have a dropbox account, they offer a free tier, and it’s worth having.
It’s Distraction Free
One of my favorite things about Dropbox Paper is the user interface. It basically doesn’t have one. You see your writing and little else. This helps me focus on what I’m writing instead of getting distracted by a bunch of buttons.
You can write in Markdown, but you don’t have to.
Markdown is a plain text syntax for writers that translates to HTML. I love markdown like a shark loves blood.
Dropbox Paper is a markdown app, but you’d never know it. As you write in Markdown, it turns it into styled HTML immediately.
If you are unfamiliar with Markdown, however, you’ll still love Dropbox Paper. All of the styling features are available to you via a disappearing menu.
Want to learn markdown? Check out this video:
Dropbox Paper is collaborative. Not only allow anyone to edit what you are writing just by sharing a link, you can actually write at the same time, share comments, and rollback to previous revisions.
Share your writing with anyone.
I use this in my web design business all the time. I write some copy in Dropbox Paper and share a link to the client. They can edit the copy without ever knowing Markdown or worrying about having a Dropbox account. It’s awesome.
I also use this for meeting notes with my assistant. I’ll sketch out an agenda for a meeting in Dropbox Paper and we’ll both add to it while we talk.
Take it everywhere
Dropbox Paper has free apps for iOS and Android, which means I can write on my phone when I’m waiting in line at the bank or on my Android tablet while my wife is driving us somewhere (don’t judge.) It’s cloud based nature also means that I can get to my writing on any computer in seconds. If you have a chromebook, this is a great writing app for you.
It handles exporting and printing really well.
I print my sermon manuscripts directly from Dropbox Paper’s web app and I love the built in typography. You can also download your writing as either a Word or Markdown file. You can copy and paste your writing into Medium, Wordpress, Google Docs and other web apps and it usually just works.
What are you waiting for?
**Why not try writing your sermon manuscript this week in Dropbox Paper? See if you like it and tell me about it.