Well, every party has its pooper, and on this particular blog hop at least (click on Writer’s Blog Hop in the right-hand column to take you to the blogs of other participating writers), the pooper appears to be me. Which writing tools do I use? Do Microsoft Word and my imagination count? If not, I’m going to offer as much here on tools as I did on the goal-making process in the first post on this blog hop tour (see “Goals. Schmoals.” posted on Monday, January 13, 2014).
Did you know that in the 1950’s the U.S. government formed a committee to investigate how, with the rise of technology aimed at simplifying their lives, people were going to spend all the free time they suddenly had on their hands?
From our vantage point in 2014, we laugh at that, given what we now know: that all that technology purportedly designed to simplify our lives has actually ended up complicating it beyond all reason and comprehension.
Today we suffer, not from too much time on our hands, but from too much stress, too much information, too much exposure (of ourselves to everyone else, and everyone and everything else to us), too little downtime, and far too little face-to-face interaction with other human beings.
All this to say that, in my humble opinion, while technology can be a wonderful thing, it can also add unnecessary stress to our lives, complicating what was initially (and for thousands of years) a relatively simple process. Like writing.
Scrivener. Evernote. Dropbox. Livescribe. Storify. Skyword. Enso writer. Textilus. Zoho Writer. I hear these words over and over, and they run through my mind like the exotic names on the spice bottles in the international aisle at the supermarket. Sure, they sound intriguing. Sure, they may add zest and flavour. But is it worth taking the chance that my digestive system may be thrown completely out of whack if I try them out? Umm, no. And frankly, I’m not about to rush out and test any of those exotic spices either.
And so I have, thus far, resisted jumping onto the writing tools bandwagon.
I admit there are times when I do glance out my window as one of those aforementioned bandwagons drives by, loaded with cheering passengers all waving brightly coloured flags and lustily singing songs extolling the virtues of a brand new product, service or idea, and a twinge of curiosity ripples through me. This is generally followed by a hint of regret as I watch the wagon rumble off into the distance and disappear. Inevitably though, both the curiosity and regret fade, replaced by relief—as I settle back onto my desk chair with a sigh—that I don’t have to experience yet another learning curve, or spend days or weeks or months attempting to force my already near-saturated brain to absorb new information.
I can just write.
(Just as an aside, in case you wonder if I ever actually get anything done when I refuse to spend countless hours laying out my goals and every step I am going to take to achieve them, or acquiring and attempting to figure out every bit of writing software out there, I did finish three books last year and sign with an agent, so it can be done.)
I’m not a contrarian by nature, although my mother, who carried around her handy—and well-worn—pocket-sized reference guide to James Dobson’s The Strong-Willed Child while I was growing up may disagree. (I’m kidding; there is no handy, pocket-sized reference guide to The Strong-Willed Child, although now that the whole what-goes-around-comes-around thing is happening to me, I can’t help thinking that a guide like that is a tool I WOULD love to get my hands on.) But I digress. The point is, for now anyway, I choose to remain obstinately oblivious to the vast array of writing tools available out there.
While I remain a conscientious objector—to this brand of technology at least—I’m the first to admit there may be very good reasons for jumping onto this particular bandwagon. The other writers on this blog hop are all intelligent, creative, beautiful women whom I admire greatly. The fact that they have no doubt been regaling you with descriptions of the tools that have transformed their lives and writing careers completely is reason enough for me to pause and wonder if I might just be missing out on something I am in vital need of after all.
Just for a moment, though. Then I will let go of that thought, turn off the computer and utilize the time I might otherwise have spent going through reams of instructions on how to use the latest bit of writing software actually interacting, face-to-face, with the other human beings I am blessed to call my family and friends.
Press on, my friends. Press on,