Most writing applications fall into one of two camps. Old-school WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) tools provide lots of options for formatting and making templates, but they’re bloated and trapped in a model for writing that still assumes paper as its final destination. Underlying these tools is an assumption that’s no longer valid: on a web with hundreds of devices and platforms, and an infinite number of screen sizes — not to mention time-shifting and syndication services — “what you get” is no longer singular.
On the other side, many newer tools happily embrace the underpinnings of the web — trading superficial styles for more meaningful markup. But these same tools’ fealty to a mythical “distraction-free zone” inspires them to lock writers away in small rooms by themselves. In trying to get away from the mess of the past, they make the mistake of assuming that a minimalist writing environment must also mean a hopelessly solitary one.
Neither of these approaches fully respects the actual writing process, which oscillates between the quiet of the writer’s private cabin and the hum of the editor’s markup. Good writing requires both the safety of the former and the constructive criticism of the latter. Moreover, the web breaks from the past both structurally and socially: swapping ink for HTML and the postal service for the network. Writing can benefit from both.
Where we come in
It’s with all this in mind that we came together to make Editorially, a new collaborative writing and editing platform. We believe that the web is not merely another distribution pipeline, but a unique and deserving space for both reading and writing. Our goal is to support and encourage that writing process — from the first flash of inspiration all the way through to publication, and at every point in between.
Editorially achieves this goal in many ways: a Markdown-based writing environment lets you focus on the words and create clean markup easily; collaboration tools let you invite friends and trusted colleagues to review or edit your work; a document version system lets you mark points in a document’s history and compare versions to see what changed; notes and activity feeds encourage you to reflect on your work, for yourself and for others; and discussion threads recognize that the conversation around a text is just as important as the text itself.
And we’re only getting started. This is not just another text editor: it’s an ecosystem for the writing process. We’ve designed a space that brings you closer to both the words and the people — the only things that matter.
Together, the team behind Editorially have worked as writers, editors, publishers, designers, and developers; we’ve shipped products, books, and magazines, and enjoy debugging code as much as a good copyedit. We know the pain points of working collaboratively first-hand. We also know scratching your own itch is not the end-all of a product strategy, but the beginning. Working with advisors from every walk of the publishing world — from age-old institutions to scrappy startups — we’ve distilled everything we know about writing and editing into a tool that will change the way you write — for the better.