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Tinker Toys

An idle comment to a friend, ages ago: "If I had my druthers, I'd create my own word processor, specifically for writers and novelists." I had the good sense not to get involved in such a fool's crusade, but other, more stalwart hearts than mine have done exactly that. See: Manuskript.

This is no diss on Manuskript, which after downloading and dinking with it a bit, is a deeply impressive tool. It's just that I have an existing workflow developed over decades, and I'm pretty heavily wedded to it. That said, I would like to set aside a project specifically for working on in a different toolset, and see how that goes.

In some ways I'm quite stodgy when it comes to the software tools I use for my creative projects. I don't like to ditch toolsets unless I'm experiencing such intractable pain with a tool that I simply can't get work done with it, or unless there's an alternative that is manifestly better in every respect. But the last couple of years I've reinvented the workflow a good deal, and one of the hazards of doing so is merely moving from one rut to another instead of developing a pattern of reassessing one's toolset.

Some of this manifests as proprietary vs. open source. I'm still stuck on using Microsoft Word as my default editor for novel-style texts; I'm still very much a Microsoft Windows guy and probably always will be. But I now use Visual Studio Code for anything remotely software-related, or anything where I'm editing text in Markdown format (which I use as a standard note-taking system now). And the wiki software I use to organize project notes (TiddlyWiki) is open source.

The hard part is telling myself, okay, I'm done with the search for newer and better tools. In some ways I am very resistant to change when it involves certain things with many layers of built-up habits. Word is one such domain. I don't want to change it up for LibreOffice; I've tried, and I found LibreOffice irritating in all of these subtle little ways that I didn't want to deal with on a line-by-line basis. It doesn't mean I think everyone else who uses LibreOffice is missing out; it's just one of the places I don't see the change being worth it. But that doesn't stop me from trying it every so often to see how far along it's come.

Most of the big changes came in places where I either had no toolset at all, or a bad one. Until before Flight Of The Vajra I had no real tooling for assembling and managing notes on a project. That changed with Vajra out of necessity. There was no flippin' way I could manage the notes for the book's universe in flat files. After that, I decided flat files for note-taking on a creative project was a dead end, and I've been using a wiki for every novel since.

Is there another creative tool out there that might replace it? Sure, why not? But I won't know unless I make a concerted effort to find out by way of future projects. Maybe I'll end up rolling my own tools anyway. (Said the man who wrote his own blog software when the old one wasn't up to snuff anymore.)

Tags: creativity  software  tools  writing 

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Previous: Bliss Is Ignorance

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2019/06/11 17:00.

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