Tools don’t make the writer

Twice last week I read blogs and forum discussions involving writers judging other writers by what tools they use.

According to a blogger who writes fiction, you aren’t a real writer if you don’t carry a moleskin notebook and fancy pen with you everywhere. And according to a professional writer in a forum discussion, you aren’t a real technical writer if you use, and especially if you prefer, the most commonly used word processing program rather than the program currently favored by the DOD.

I have carried a moleskin notebook in my past and remember how richly appealing they are to hold and scribble thoughts in. But my notes and writing fragments are just as valuable captured electronically using Evernote on my smart phone. That frees me from lugging around a bag big enough for a moleskin and continually fishing in it for my favorite pen.

I have used several different programs to develop manuals, procedures and instructions, and I enjoy learning new ones whenever possible. But I find that each has its pros and cons and believe that the perfect technical writing software has yet to be designed. I therefore prefer the tool requested or required by the employer or client because that is the tool that enables me to get the job done.

It is beyond my expertise to explain why some writers develop a tool obsession, or why so many humans in general feel they have to put others down to build themselves up. But both are a waste of time and talent.

Writers are writers because of the content they produce, not the tool they use to capture, display or distribute it.

Go forth and write something worth reading.

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