Thoughts on WriteFreely

1 minute read

I’ve always viewed myself as something of a good writer over the years. It’s up for debate whether that is objectively true, though! One of my favourite pastimes is to actively embrace new writing tools in the hopes that they will help elevate my writing, whether it be through embracing the use of Markdown syntax or just providing a smooth publishing platform for my writing pieces. I’ve played around with Blogger, WordPress, Ghost, Hugo, Jekyll and Octopress, among many others, and most recently I decided to give WriteFreely a try.

WriteFreely is a federated writing platform that is focused on your words. There’s absolutely no CMS elements or widgets to tinker with, and in my opinion that’s a good thing. It’s very much focused on letting you as a writer just focus on what matters most for both you and your readers.

Using CMS platforms such as WordPress usually gets me tangled in a web of tinkering with site elements or trying to fix my RSS feed when a plugin goes awry. And each of those small obstacles to writing slowly adds up. You find yourself spending more and more time tweaking your site, and less and less time actually writing.

That’as why I’m particularly happy to be hosting my own small WriteFreely instance, and I’m looking forward to using it more extensively in the future. I actually want to try and see if I can point this blog to that instance and shift to that over the WordPress install I’m currently using to host this.

As for the actual software, WriteFreely gives you a beautifully minimalistic editor, and app on iOS, that allows you to post in Markdown. No plugins. Minimal theming. Only words.

You can change various settings regarding the naming of your blog and how posts are ordered or presented, but there are no worries about SEO or plugins of any other sort. You can spend the time you would have previously wasted on such things, on your words.

Regarding hosting, you can opt to host it yourself and follow the simple steps to install it on your own server. You could join one of the many instances currently open for registration and run by the community. Or you could pay a small fee for the folks to host your site on their own service. This final option is a great way to pay back to the developers and help them out to provide further support and development time to the platform.

One last thing I would like to point out about WriteFreely is that it’s a part of the fediverse, which means it makes use of ActivityPub to automatically make your posts available to follow from any other part of the fediverse. That means that anyone can follow your writing from Mastodon, Pleroma, Hubzilla, Friendica or similar accounts. It’s a great way to build a community and start a conversation without having to rely on the rather unsavoury privacy issues of platforms like Disqus.

If you’re running your own WriteFreely instance or making use of, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and what made you decide to use it for your own writing.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting