This time last year (2019), Gutenberg had arrived in WordPress 5.0.
At the time, it felt like it was rushed into the WordPress product – unpolished, buggy, ever-changing – more like an Alpha than a final release.
Like hammering a dodecahedron shape into a round hole!
It took some time for me to be able to move this site over to Gutenberg due to issues with overlapping blocks and my heavy use of Advanced Custom Fields, which did not have 100% support at the time.
Blogging With Gutenberg
When I started using Gutenberg for my blog posts around April last year, it seemed that every week something in the UI would change – a bit like Facebook.
Whether that was the way something popped up, moving meta boxes, the icon changes to the way selecting copy using <CTRL>+A would sometimes highlight the text inside a block and at other times choose all blocks on the page – I still can’t figure out the rules for that one.
My spelling is terrible, like really bad, so I rely on spelling and grammar checking to make my blog posts readable and flow nicely.
Grammarly With Gutenberg
I use Grammarly – yes I know some people think that it’s just a keylogger. I beg to differ – it is a tool that I quite frankly can’t do without.
The problem is that Grammarly only works in the confines of a single Gutenberg block and I hate that.
It’s not Grammarly’s fault; it is the way Gutenberg is designed, splitting everything into a block.
I think this is nuts and goes against the natural way we all write articles and stories.
Writing Stories vs Pages
Yes, an article contains chunks called sentences and paragraphs, but the “story” flows over the context of them altogether.
Headlines, sentences and paragraphs all go together to make up a story which Grammarly can’t diagnose because Gutenberg splits everything down into their components.
I’m sure other similar browser add-ons have the same problem – maybe you can correct me if this is not the case.
I do think that building a page in Gutenberg is a better or should I say faster experience now than using the classic editor TinyMCE.
But, a page on a website is very different than a blog or story.
A page consists of independent parts – bits of small stories interlaced with headers, banners, boxes and all the fancy gizmos that we have at hand today. It does and should have flow but not in the same way as an article story.
I can’t write a blog, a story in Gutenberg because it drives me nuts.
Goodbye TinyMCE – A Farewell From Automattic
I’ve tried using classic editor blocks and writing my copy in there. However, it felt restrictive and counterintuitive having the TinyMCE inside a small block window.
Automattic has said they will only support the Classic Editor plugin (hence TinyMCE) until 2020 and that is a problem.
I don’t want to set up a writing system that I know will not be officially supported in only a couple of years.
Yes, there will be third-party plugins released that will continue to extend TinyMCE in Gutenberg, like TinyMCE Advanced.
However, without official support from Automattic, I can see TinyMCE’s popularity wane overtime in the WordPress ecosphere.
Google Docs With Gutenberg
So, now I write all my blog posts in a Google Doc with Grammarly happily correcting my spelling and grammar.
Once I’m happy with the story, I paste it into Gutenberg, watching it rip apart the story into the unnecessary paragraph and headline blocks with me correcting the mistakes in block translations that it makes – although these are becoming less frequent.
The one that bugs me the most is having to remove the carriage return form the end of each paragraph block because blocks use padding and margins for space between them – again a counterintuitive way to write.
When was the last time you padded the bottom of your paragraph when writing a story?
Then I add the WordPress specific components I want my post to include – tables, video link, gizmos etc.
I do hope that Gutenberg evolves into a better writing experience and that they continue to iron out all those UI issues.
Until that time comes, I’ll be continuing to write all my blog posts in Google Docs!
Please let me know in the comments below how you find writing blog posts and stories with Gutenberg.