I’m writing more and more of my papers in Markdown and use pandoc to produce PDF files for submission. The settings and customizations necessary to produce a PDF document conforming with specifications can make the build process quite complex. Consequently I’ve been using makefiles to run pandoc with the right settings for a specific publication and to keep track of the dependencies, such as bibliographies, header includes, custom template, etc.
A fact that should perhaps be emphasized when promulgating academic blogging is: it’s not for everyone. If you can regularly write a sparkling essay in half an hour, say, during your commute or your lunch break, and you enjoy doing it—then it’s definitely for you. If, on the other hand, the only thing that’s regular about your writing is writer’s block, then you should feel free to either blog for therapeutic reasons—or to leave it. Well, and then there are some people who don’t have a choice because they somehow managed to win an award that contractually requires them to blog.