Bright, Shiny Tools for Writing

Sometimes the tools that you use shape the kinds of things that you create. If you work with a hammer, you will build things that need hammering. If you have a saw, you will build things by shaping them with your saw.

I am much more conversant with the tools of the writers trade than I am with the actual craft of writing. I know how to construct sentences. I am good at typing. I have even gotten fairly good at writing in longhand with a fountain pen.

I write my blog post with the in-app editor of WordPress. It is very functional. It helps me format my post without having to manually add all the html and css mark up. It even has specialized tools for creating tables and formatting snippets of code.

It makes it easy to tag my posts with hashtags indicating the topics that are talked about in them. That makes it easier for people to find my blog posts when they are looking for blogs they would enjoy reading. I hope my blog is something that some people would like to read.

I write my journal with a web site called 750words.com. It keeps track of my word count, it counts how many days in a row I’ve written more than 750 words a day, and it analyzes my prose for the tone of the words that I write. It is all very objective. It’s a program, not a human, after all.

I have used Scrivener to write on a couple of occasions. It has a lot of tools for such things as keeping track of your research, posting summary cards for each scene so that you can experiment with reorganizing your story by arranging the cards in a different order. I can see how it might help you think of variations on the story if you stall out while writing it.

I’ve also written with Atom and emacs, two different yet similar text editors that are used by lots of programmers. I’ve never written much prose with vim, another popular programmer’s editor. I can barely write code with it, much less regular prose.

I have written with both Microsoft Word and Apple’s Pages. They both distract me too much. I tend to pay more attention to formatting what I’ve written and much less attention to what I am writing. I prefer a plain text editor any day.

I’ve taken notes with notepad++. I’ve written code with it. But, I haven’t ever written prose with it, aside from short snippets of comments in between the programming sections.

I used to draw pictures of my software designs. I often used Microsoft Word to keep my familiarity with it current. It is bound to serve some purpose in the future. I have also used Open Office and Office Libre. I don’t know if they are two different programs, two different frontends on a common backend, or if maybe one of them was forked from the other.

I am enjoying pen and paper a lot lately. It is a very free form medium. I need to start writing in a paper journal some of the time. Given how I struggle with thinking of things to write about, I’m not sure how successful that would be.


Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.

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