Tools of the Trade

I’m at a bit of a cross-roads and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it.  You see, I’m looking very seriously at getting a Mac.  Nothing wrong with that, right?

There’s only one problem.  I’ve been using Microsoft products almost since the beginning of personal computers (just ask Sean, I really am that old).  Not only have I been using them but I’ve also been actively supporting them both personally and career-wise.  And until recently, I could honestly look you in the eye and say I had never strayed or been unfaithful to Microsoft… well except for that one time in Vegas when I was drunk, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

I use Microsoft Word for Windows every day.  I already know all the formatting shortcut key combinations and I’ve written three books using it, so why switch?

A few things have changed that make it a more desirable platform for me now.  My Mom now has a Mac for which I am the de facto support person.  Also, we, the SWN guys are about to embark on an adventure in podcasting and our software of choice is Mac-based… and darn it, isn’t the Mac supposed to be for those artistic, creative types?  You know, the type I’m trying to be?

But am I ready?

It’s gotten me thinking about when I first started writing.  I picked up every writing reference I could find so I could “learn how to do it properly”.  Surely I couldn’t write anything worthwhile without them.  I know it’s a feeling many writers share with me.  I’ve heard the same thing expressed in questions like:  “What writing software do you use?” and “is there anything that helps you to outline your story?”.  Same self-doubt expressed in a slightly but similar way.  We try to compensate for lack of experience with quick fixes.  Crutches if you will.

The truth of the matter is no tool is going to make you a successful writer.  The only things that will do that for you (and me) is perseverence, practice and patience (cool, 3-P’s of writing :) ).  The various tools only determine how you execute them.  Take Sean, for example.  He uses an Asus EEE PC (and a Mac, of course).  It’s tiny, light and infinitely portable.  Does it make Sean a better writer?  He’d probably say “No”.  What it does do is gives him the means to type/write wherever he happens to be.

I guess that’s what I need to keep in mind too.  The Macbook I’m looking at is smaller and lighter than what I use now.  It’s more powerful and has much better battery life.  At the end of the day, it will mean that, regardless of software, I can write longer and more often.  Perhaps it is time to get over my technology prejudices and worry about getting the job done.

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