Advertising
Advertising

How To: Use Git to Version Your Writing

How To: Use Git to Version Your Writing

If you are a writer you may have ran into this problem. You are writing like mad, moving things, changing the way something flows. As you are getting into it, you realize.

Hey! This isn’t what I want to say at all! I need to go back.

You feverishly tap CTRL + z (or Command + z for you Mac aficionados) and come to find that your favorite “no frills” text editor has lost your undo history or you aren’t quite sure where you want to go back to.

Good for more than just development

Git is a piece of software that allows the user to control the versions of files in a directory. It allows the user to ‘commit’ a snapshot of any directory to a ‘repository’ that tracks all of the changes between versions of the files.

Git is awesome for development. But, what I have found is that it is awesome for writing as well.

Git allows me to commit my writing every so often so I can get back to where I want to be. It also allows me to ‘branch’ my writing so I can separate it from everything else.

Let’s take a look at how you can use git to control your writing versions.

Installation, Initialization, and committing

I will be covering Windows and Mac here. For you Linux geeks; you should already know how to use git!

Advertising

To install git do the following:

    For Windows:

    Go to git-scm.com, click on the Windows link to the right and download the latest version. Install via the executable and choose the most standard settings. When you get to the Adjusting your PATH environment screen, select the first option, Use Git Bash only and hit next. When at the Configuring the line ending conversions, select the third option, Checkout as-is, commit as-is and hit next. After the install completes click “Finish”.

    For Mac:

    Go to git-scm.com, click on the Mac OS X link to the right and then click the latest .DMG file in the list to download. Launch the DMG from your Downloads directory and double-click the git PKG. Follow the on-screen instructions and enter your user credentials. Close the installer when it is complete.

    OK, now that you have git installed we are going to get geeky and use a terminal in both Windows and Mac.

    To get to the git terminal in Windows go to the Start button and search for ‘git’. Click on ‘Git Bash’ to get to your git command line interface.

    For Mac just open a terminal by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

    Advertising

    Here is where the fun begins. Let’s say you have a folder where you store a bunch of writing. For me that is in my Dropbox/writing folder. If I want to start tracking that directory I can change to that directory via command line then initialize a git repository.

    This will be close to the same on both platforms. To change to a certain directory use the command:

    cd [path-to-your-writing-directory]

    Of course fill in your own directory. My command looks like this in Windows:

      The backslash after ‘My’ is used to tell the terminal that the space after the word ‘My’ is there. You can autocomplete your paths by starting to type a directory and then hitting the ‘Tab’ key.

      And this on my Mac:

        Once you are at the directory you have all of your writing in you can issue the command git init which initializes a blank “repository” for your directory. This puts a .git directory that is initialized. Once your repository is initialized you can add the files to the repository by typing

        Advertising

        git add .

        or

        git add [some-name-of-a-file]

        to add only one file.

        After that you can commit your files to the repository by typing

        git commit -m “This is my first commit (or some other message)”

        ‘-m’ is used to tell git that you want to put a message with your commit. Now you have made your first commit to your new git repository! Congrats, you geek.

        More on committing and branching

        OK, I know that was a little technical, but you are over the hump now. If you want to learn more about git though in your free time, check out Pro Git. It’s free and it is the best tutorial on the inner workings of git.

        Advertising

        So, what committing does is take a “snapshot” of the directory structure or whatever files you told your git repository to watch. If you make a change to a sentence in one of the files that your repository is watching after you just committed and type ‘git status’ you will be presented with the changes that have been made to the watched files. This lets you know that you have “uncommitted” changes to your watched files. You can then easily commit them by issuing the git commit command.

        Another neat feature of git is branching. Branching is the idea of making a totally separate branch of your repository. You can create a new branch by typing:

        git checkout -b this-is-a-new-branch

        You can then make changes to your tracked files totally separate from your “master” branch. This allows you to take different paths with your writing without screwing up something else that was committed.

        To switch back to your “master” branch, type:

        git checkout master

        Also, remember to commit any changes before creating and changing to new branches. If you don’t you may run into issues down the line where some changes get dropped.

        More to come

        Let us know if you think that this is helpful or want to learn more about using git to track files leave some messages in the comments.

        Git is a super application; one that I use everyday. I can’t praise it enough. But, remember, it doesn’t have to be just used by geeks and hackers, writers can use it to keep track of their work and to feel free to explore other writing avenues without losing valuable work they have already created.

        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

        To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You

        Trending in Technology

        1 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 2 To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System 3 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity 4 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 5 16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on October 16, 2019

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

        Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

        Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

        Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

        In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

        1. ScheduleOnce

          ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

          ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

          ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

          Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

          Available on Web

          2. Calendly

            Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

            You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

            Advertising

            Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

            3. Assistant.to

              For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

              From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

              While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

              Available on Web

              4. Acuityscheduling

                Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                Available on Web | iOS | Android

                5. Pick

                  Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                  At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

                  Advertising

                  Available on Web

                  6. X.ai

                    For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                    This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                    Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                    Available on Web

                    7. YouCanBook.me

                      is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                      They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                      Available on Web

                      8. Doodle

                        Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                        It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

                        Advertising

                        You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                        While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                        Available on Web | iOS | Android

                        9. WhenAvailable

                          WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                          Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                          Available on Web

                          10. Rally

                            Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                            Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                            Available on Web

                            11. NeedtoMeet

                              Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

                              Advertising

                              NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                              While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                              Available on Web

                              Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                              In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                              To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                              Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                              A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                              Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                              If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                              Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                              With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                              The Bottom Line

                              Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                              Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                              Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

                              Read Next