Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Why didn't you answer?"

When Tuesday feels like Monday it's hard to keep the schedule straight.  Not that I'm complaining, I've been fortunate enough to have many, many years of employment during which Tuesdays that feel like Mondays mean a four day work week and, dedicated civil servant or not, I like days off.  (No sarcasm.)

I had the refreshing experience of being stuck on the wrong side of the tracks this morning.  (Dripping with sarcasm.)  A mile or two of passing freight train blocked the road while the commuter pulled in, boarded, and departed.  If it weren't for the biting wind I probably wouldn't have complained.  After all, the train is only taking me to a place where everyone wants something.  At my cafe table there are no such demands.  Just a blank page that needs to be filled.

I don't have any high heeled shoes.  Not a single pair.  That shouldn't surprise you.  If you know me you'd probably think the idea of me wearing high heels is pretty silly.  I absolutely agree.  It isn't that I have anything against them but they aren't something I need (which is why I don’t have them).  Why in the world would I spend time shopping for, and then money to buy, something I have no need for?  My height/weight ratio is one that I'm comfortable with.

As a writer subscribed to blog feeds from business which sell writing products, I'm always receiving email notices and alerts to buy stuff.  Stuff that promises to make my writing easier and better.  I buy very, very little of it (Storyist, Final Draft, and... guess that's it).  Why?  Because I don't need any of it.  I have been attracted to the shiny packages and thought, "Wow, that looks nifty" a few times, but in the end I haven't bought anything because it really doesn't do anything to help me.

It might for you - but make sure it does using the free trial versions before you buy it.  Too many of the products aren't really making your writing easier, they are just making it electronic.  Like "Save the Cat."  It's a really neat little program that works well and duplicates, electronically, the notecard system that the books promote.  Thing is, it DUPLICATES something I already use and as fun as it is to play around with, it doesn't help my writing at all.  It's a distraction and sucks time away from writing because I have to figure out how to use it.  I have to configure reports.  I have to transfer into other programs.  I have to print things out so I can I take them with me -- essentially creating a paper product that duplicates my paper system.  It will even print directly to index cards for me.  That's a wonderful feature because index cards are wonderfully useful.  I know this because I already write onto index cards...  See where I'm going?

For some people, and I believe this, the computer application increases productivity.  But not for me.  As much as I wanted to buy it because of the gee-whiz factor, it would keep me from writing rather than increase productivity.  Writing isn't like hunting where there are only certain times you can be out doing it and when you can't, browsing catalogues and reading magazine articles lets you dream about the next time in the woods.  Writing is something that can be done anytime you are at the keyboard and when you're playing with a shiny new piece of software you are not writing.

Don't be the sort of writer who isn't writing.  Don't be the starving artist that spends grocery money on something you don't need.  If you don’t need the tool to do a specific task right now, you don’t need the tool.

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