Stu Maschwitz explains how blogging led him to get over his need for as-you-type formatting and embrace plain text:
I’d often find myself battling that little WYSIWYG text window. I’d press Return after some quoted text and it would create another quoted paragraph. I’d press the “quote” button to un-quote the current paragraph, and an extra line would be inserted. I’d try to delete it and now there was no separation between the paragraphs. I’d press “Publish” and the extra line would be back.
I’d eventually go into the post HTML and try to remove the offending line break, crossing my fingers that I wasn’t destroying something else in the process. After all this, I’d be afraid to touch the WYSIWYG editor again. A typo or broken link would have to be pretty important for me to risk touching this house of HTML cards I’d created.
Tools like Markdown and Fountain don’t replace dedicated apps, which can do sophisticated things that would otherwise be very difficult. But too often we’re trying to do too much too soon.
If you’re fighting to get Final Draft to recognize a parenthetical, you’re no longer writing. You’re formatting. You’re a poet picking fonts. You’re a novelist worrying about hyphenation.
Plain text keeps you from worrying about the wrong things at the wrong time.