Writing Platform Reviews – Bitbucket – Setup

I’ve been searching for a writing application that can do everything that I want when writing a novel.  Being sick of Microsoft Word’s limitations, I decided to explore the different options available currently.   The main conditions I have:

  1. Inexpensive – The typical writer doesn’t have a lot of money
  2. Versioning – The application has to be able to show me a history of edits and be able to recover between them
  3. Availability – My writing should be available on my laptop, phone, or wherever I go.
  4. Expandable – Ideally, I’d be able to store notes, charts, diagrams, and other drawings as well as organise them in a sensible way so I can refer back to them easily
  5. Easy to Use – The system needs to get out of my way and let me write.  Little annoyances with a setup can quickly get in the way of my writing.

Keeping these things in mind, I’ll start with my first test: Bitbucket.   For those who haven’t heard of it before, Bitbucket is a website (https://bitbucket.org) that is typically used to store code for programs and websites.  It almost definitely isn’t what most people think of when writing novels.

As a developer, I use such programs often in my work, and so I can see the benefits of such a system, and decided to try it out in helping me revise my novel.  While this may be too complex for most writers out there, it may be a perfect fit for some.  Signing up for the service was free, and I created a private repository for my novel.  Uploading the chapters was easy, and soon I was looking at a nice list of my chapters.

Each chapter was split into a separate file to keep things simple, and they were saved as text files so I could easily edit them.  I tried uploading ODT (libreoffice) files, but bitbucket (expectedly) couldn’t deal with opening and versioning these files.   Since my main goal was just revising sentence-level stuff, this didn’t bother me so much.  Formatting would come later.

Now that it’s setup, I’m going to edit my novel using this method for a week to see if it meets my needs.  I’ll report back with my findings as I go along.  Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how this setup worked on my phone for writing.

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