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Artist's Toolbox: Sta.sh Writer

Thu Jul 25, 2013, 6:00 AM




I'm drafting this blog in Sta.sh Writer, which should itself be a recommendation. :P

What is Sta.sh Writer? Here's spyed's super fancy announcement:

The fastest way to access Sta.sh Writer is by typing it directly into your browser: sta.sh/writer --as long as you're logged in, it'll take you straight there. If you're not as much of a keyboardist, you can go to the Submit dropdown > Sta.sh > click on the Sta.sh Writer button in the upper right hand side.

No software necessary

At this point, there's no way you haven't heard about the 'cloud'. (Stop looking at the sky.) My favorite thing about Sta.sh Writer is that it's cloud-based, which means that I can start writing in the middle of the night on my netbook or phone and pick up from where I left off, as long as I have an Internet connection. (It also autosaves, which is nice, although you should never rely completely on it; Word can lose data too.)

Since everything is in your browser, you don't have to worry about cross-compatibility between computers. You don't even have to download anything extra.

Also, you're not going to lose your text if something happens to your computer.

Formatting

The most obvious thing I have to say here is that you can slap a journal skin on. (Subscription necessary.) If you're into that stuff, there's lots to explore; I find it nice to be able to limit width when I actually submit work to dA, although I'm fine with the default look when actually typing.

Shortcuts like Ctrl+B for bold, Ctrl+I for italics work fine. (Ctrl+E/L/R don't, however.) If you only need basic formatting, you shouldn't have an issue, regardless of whether or not you know code.

Length

Aside from content for dA (journals, shorter lit) I mostly use Sta.sh Writer for starting longer pieces. There is a character limit. :faq627: discusses the one for all text submissions; I don't know if it's set for Sta.sh, but I've run into it on one occasion and can confidently say you wouldn't be able to use Stash to write a novel unless you wanted to post everything as separate chapters.

(It was, however, fantastic for NaPoWriMo.)

Limitations

While Sta.sh Writer is the most convenient in-browser writing tool, it's important to note certain limitations. The program is fairly new and if you notice a bug, you should report it to the Help Desk. (To suggest enhancements, use the Suggestions Forum.)

You have to be mad to want Microsoft Word's grammar checking tool so let's never speak of that again, but as far as spellchecking goes, Sta.sh Writer only uses your browser's built-in spellchecker. Which means that if you have it turned off, you're not going to see squiggly red lines everywhere. (Okay, you could be a good speller too. That's a thing.) Blogging platforms behave similarly, so this shouldn't be new.

Anyway, if you're using this to write pieces you're planning to redraft in a different processor, it's important to note that there is currently no way to download a *.txt or *.doc version of your work. Everything is copypaste. Sta.sh is good about bringing in basic formatting (bold, italics, links, etc.) from other places, and LibreOffice seems to work just as well when copying out of Sta.sh, but there's no guarantee all of your formatting will be saved in whatever other writing program(s) you're using.

I know people have issues with the spacing when Word documents are pasted in, so I would stick to copying new text in from plain text editors like Notepad. Although, really, I use Sta.sh Writer for new stuff anyway, so I don't run into this.

Finally, if you're planning to dump in a lot of HTML/fancier formatting, expect things to go wonky at some point. I find that the Rich Editing mode is great as long as you're not manually entering code; once you switch to HTML mode, I recommend sticking with it, even though you will lose some of the fancy features.




One of the neat things about writing is that you can work from almost anywhere, and Sta.sh Writer, when used well, actually makes it easier.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconpurpllamas:
Purpllamas Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Student General Artist
Hi, I was wondering if there was a way to get a new paragraph without having an extra space between paragraphs. I want to make lists in journals, but every time I press Enter it skips a line, which makes everything spaced out in an unattractive way. Is there a way around this?
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Try Shift + Enter :)
Reply
:iconpurpllamas:
Purpllamas Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Student General Artist
Great, thanks! (:
Reply
:iconsingingflames:
SingingFlames Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I do love Sta.sh Writer, although occasionally it has gone wonky on me. Not recently though (for which I'm extremely grateful). It has several great features. :nod:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah :nod: I've never had to start anything completely over, but it has moments.
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
ARggh Microsoft Word. NO MY NAME IS NOT WRONG.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I like MS Word! :P
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
Oh, I like it too. Other than that reason.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
But what's the reason?! :iconamgplz:
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
It keeps saying my name is wrong. Like a troll on dA D:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol: I added mine to the MS Word dictionary ages ago.
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
I keep forgetting to do that. In the meantime, I added every other scientific words that I would never have to use again. >_>
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
To be fair, it's the right thing to do when you're in college :B
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconralfmaximus:
RalfMaximus Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Spellcheck?

Just add your name to the dictionary. 

Spellcheckers hate RalfMaximus too until I edyoomacate 'em.
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
I keep forgetting to do that. :C
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:dance:
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
:la:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:lawoo:
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013
:iconcarameldansenplz:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconcaramelldansenplz:
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
Wow! o_O
Reply
:icondaghrgenzeen:
Daghrgenzeen Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome article! :#1:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:dance:
Reply
:icondaghrgenzeen:
Daghrgenzeen Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:boogie:
Reply
:iconladybrookecelebwen:
LadyBrookeCelebwen Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's even helpful if you don't plan on writing in it - I don't (I'm far too used to using Word.) It's easily the easiest way I've found to share stories with people on a private basis.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooo yes, I didn't mention that but I've done it with stuff that's out :nod:
Reply
:iconladybrookecelebwen:
LadyBrookeCelebwen Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've done it for all sorts of things - drafts that people are reading over for me, marked up pdfs edits I've done for other people (I need the pretty colors), random facts I need to link people to. It's the best. :D
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
...I want to be on the random fact mailing list :eager:
Reply
:iconladybrookecelebwen:
LadyBrookeCelebwen Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
One day I'm just going to make a blog with all these random facts/quotes I end up throwing at people - easier than linking people to st.ash posts. :lol:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
DO IT.
Reply
:iconladybrookecelebwen:
LadyBrookeCelebwen Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I WILL! I might make that explanation of several types of Aztec sacrificial practices I owe you the first real entry.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:eager:
Reply
:iconkiwi-pdd:
kiwi-pdd Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Onlt thing missing is spell check. Which is where using Chrome comes in ;)
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, I mentioned that in there :P Firefox has it too, although you have to watch out if you're like me and turn these things off.
Reply
:iconkiwi-pdd:
kiwi-pdd Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Dyslexic, I'd never turn that off :O
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
My name comes up as misspelt and that annoys me :stare:
Reply
:iconkiwi-pdd:
kiwi-pdd Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Add it to the dictionary? :P

Considering there are 40 (k or c x ei, i, ae, ea, or ie x a, e, i or o) different ways of spelling mine I'm used to no one getting it right.

All my payslips, contracts and time sheets at work are spelled wrong. I could get them to correct it but it may work in my advantage one day ;)
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lazy :B

Haha, ouch! Yeah, I don't have that issue, it's actually got a pretty accepted spelling for being a non-English word.
Reply
:iconkiwi-pdd:
kiwi-pdd Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Surely lazy would mean doing it once to avoid doing it countless times? Hehe.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:P shh, that makes too much sense!
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013
Clooooud? :shifty:

I am going to admit to having never heard of it.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconamgplz:

It's like...storage over the Interweb instead of on your personal machine, to oversimplify a bit.
Reply
:iconralfmaximus:
RalfMaximus Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It's the place where companies want you to put your stuff from now on so they can sell it back to you later.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Or accidentally give it to all the hackers!
Reply
:iconfuzzyhoser:
FuzzyHoser Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:thumbsup: I love Sta.sh Writer. It's like a fantastic little place mark for works-in-progress, as well.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:nod:
Reply
:iconpica-ae:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Yes, do not CTRL+E. Just don't. 

:giggle:
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol: Ctrl+E is scarytimes!
Reply
:iconpica-ae:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Very much :fear: 

It was useful when the only "official" writing option was rich text, but since you can switch between rich text and html it's completely obsolete and pointless to use it :B
Reply
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