Being a technical person, or a “computer geek”, I’m finding that I’m being increasingly caught up in the technical aspects of the craft of writing. For example; I use
OpenOffice LibreOffice as my word processor of choice. Well, I’ve been through about eight different word processing programs over the years and I tend to get so caught up in the feature set and appearance that I spend less time writing and more time scouring the Internet for articles comparing LibreOffice vs. <insert program here>.
Basically they all do the same thing. And, as a writer, I don’t need it to do much. Just some italic text, maybe some bold, and indent my new lines. Maybe a table of contents. Then I’ll export to HTML and/or PDF. Pretty simple, really.
I also run my own webserver and it’s incredibly easy to get caught up tweaking that; each upgrade takes time away. Install a new theme? Well, I have to tweak it to get it to work perfectly. If I get hacked then I have to fight that fire. In other words, the technical side in me takes over and runs amok.
The problem is that I love tinkering with computers as much as I love writing. But that tinkering becomes a waste of time, with very little to show for it. I could be writing and producing something.
So it occurred to me to simplify my approach to writing, similar to what I’ve done with my guitar rig. I’ve been using simple pedals for years; no high-tech effects processors or any other such nonsense. The guitar runs into pedals then into the amp. The pedals are simple; step on it once to turn it on, again to turn it off. Adjust some knobs and you’re done.
So I think writing can be that way too. First step for me: the word processing software is just a means to an end. I’m using simple and vanilla LibreOffice. Forget all the fancy formatting and tweaking of the document, just get words on the screen. That’s it. A writer writes.
The website. I still have my personal website for all the goofy stuff I want to share. It’s also a repository for my old band’s material and history. I do some software reviews on there too. But to simplify I’m moving my writing posts over to this site. No server for me to maintain. I chose a simple theme, no frills. All content, nothing to distract. Nothing to scream to a potential publisher, agent, reader, or fellow writer that I suffer from ADD (which I’m not…I’ve been tested).
So what can you simplify to increase your output and put some order back into your writing habits?