This week on Wrapp Up I’m joined by my pal Lucas Cherkewski, a talented young designer/developer from Canada. Lucas shares Draft, a platform for writing, editing, and collaborating on words.

Better writing and collaborating with Draft, a free online writing tool
Better writing and collaborating with Draft, a free online writing tool

Draft is minimalist and easy to use, and lets you write articles (using the Markdown writing format), share them with your peers, and solicit their feedback in a safe, non-destructible way. Draft stores revisions of your work as you go, so you can easily revert to earlier versions. Draft also has built in writing reports, transcription support, and the ability to “ask a pro” for editing help/advice for a nominal fee. Draft is built by Nathan Kontny.

Collaborative writing and editing is better with Draft — Audio player


Collaborative writing and editing is better with Draft — Transcription

Chris: Hello everybody and welcome to Wrapp Up, which is my podcast about apps and digital tools and gadgets and all sorts of cool stuff like that. I’m your host Chris Van Patten and today we’ve got something special following in the footsteps of a couple of weeks ago when I had Dennis Gable on the podcast I’m bringing on another guest. This is my friend Lucas Cherkewski. Hi Lucas.

Lucas: Hey Chris. How’s it going?

Chris: Good. Thanks. So Lucas and I met right around a year ago actually at WordCamp Toronto, the developer conference up there and I have to admit I was sicker than a dog that day. I remember meeting Lucas, but I don’t remember anything other than that. I don’t remember our conversation or anything like that. The whole thing was a daze but since then we’ve followed each other on Twitter and have worked together a couple of times and I’m excited to have you on the show.

Lucas: Well, thanks for having me.

Chris: So, why don’t you get started and tell me what app you’ve brought to share.

Lucas: So, the app I’m talking about today is Draft made by Nathan Kontny. It’s a really great writing tool for focused writing and then ‘managed collaboration’ is kind of how Nathan bills it.

Chris: So Draft is at Right?

Lucas: Dot com, yes. and it’s @gooddraft on Twitter.

Chris: Okay. So, Draft it’s a writing app at the simplest, but how does it compare to using Google Docs to prepare writing and things like that? Why would you choose Draft over something else?

Lucas: Yeah. Google Docs is a great tool when you have to collaborate on a document in real time with other people, but the real value in Draft is when you’re writing something you can share it with someone and they can propose edits to you and then you can work through the edits and choose individual edits you like. That’s kind of its main feature. It’s version control for writing is how Nathan calls it. Beyond that, it’s really easy to use and understand and the design is really simple.

Chris: Yes, it’s almost like a minimalistic approach to writing online and what I love about it is that it supports Markdown.

Lucas: Yes.

Chris: Markdown is a text writing format. I don’t remember … I think I’ve talked about it on a podcast before, but basically it’s a really simple way to format text. It’s not what you see is what you get right off the bat. You can preview and see how it’s going to look but it focuses less on that kind of stuff, fancy bells and whistles, and it’s more about giving you an opportunity to just focus on the writing.

Lucas: Yes, and one of the cool things with Draft is that you can then take that Markdown and you can export it to a what you see is what you get format. So you can export it to a WordPress blog as a draft or to an html file or a pdf file if you’d like.

Chris: So, are there any particularly special or unique features about Draft? You mentioned that the editing isn’t with Google Docs where everyone can sort of go in and start changing, but it proposes changes. What else similar to that or [inaudible 0:03:20]? What other things set Draft apart?

Lucas: Well there’s a little bit more about version control. You can save drafts for specific points in time with a file and you can go back and compare your writing and kind of like a [inaudible 0:03:36] view if you’re a programmer. The cool thing about that is it’s easy to understand by nonprogrammers too. If you want to edit a file you just send a link to someone and they can edit it without a Draft account. Then beyond that, I think my favorite feature is called Hemingway mode. It’s inspired by a quote attributed to Hemingway called, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” Where draft disables the ability to delete what you write and so you just keep writing, keep writing, keep writing until you’ve hit a word count or something and then the next day you come back and you edit it. You fix any mistakes you made while you were just hammering out words.

Chris: That’s excellent. It’s a great way … What I love about Draft as a whole is again it’s not focused on the bells and whistles and adding every feature under the sun, but it’s really about getting you to write and getting you to write better and getting you to write more. So, I think it’s an excellent tool for writers out there.

Lucas: For sure.

Chris: How much does it cost?

Lucas: Yeah, so Draft is a free product and it’s ad free as it is, but then to support it it’s a $3.99 monthly subscription or a $39.99 yearly. It’s very inexpensive for the value you get out of it.

Chris: Does that support …. If you pay that much, not that it is much, but if you’re paying do you get anything extra or is it just sort of this makes you feel good for supporting a great app?

Lucas: Yes, it’s more the latter. Nathan kind of explains it. He says that the idea behind the first option is he has to offer premium features and kind of delineate. He doesn’t believe in that. So, it’s all about just supporting the product itself.

Chris: Fair enough. All right. So check it out, Again it’s free, and you can support it as well if you like not much a month and if you’re an avid writer who gets a lot of use out of it it will make you feel better to do that I would think.

Lucas: Yeah.

Chris: So, awesome. That is Draft. Thanks Lucas for coming on the show and sharing.

Lucas: Well, thanks for having me.

Chris: Do you have anything you want to promote or pitch or tell our audience about?

Lucas: You can follow me on Twitter at LCHSguy. Other than that I think we’re good.

Chris: Awesome. All right, thanks so much everyone for tuning in. This, as always, has been the Wrapp Up and I hope that you will join us next week. Bye, bye.

Published by Chris Van Patten

I'm an entrepreneur and product lead, and owner of Tomodomo, through which I help companies build their digital publishing platform.

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