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ANYTHING BUT WORD

October 29, 2019

More and more I see writers seeking some form of writing software that isn’t Word.

They’re constantly looking for something…anything as a tool to write with.

One might get the impression they absolutely despise anything Microsoft.

That’s not necessarily the correct assumption.

Why?

DEVICES

Many people nowadays don’t write on a conventional keyboard or computer. They use apps and devices. So guess what? As I’ve learned in several painful incidents, apps and what I know of as conventional software aren’t one in the same.

Therefore, from the feedback I’ve obtained, Word somehow has lost the ball when it comes to the world of apps.

I do know that at least when it comes to Facebook, I’m no fan of the Facebook app, which I’m forced to use on my phone. If that’s any indication, then…hey, come to think of it, I’m not all that crazy about any of the apps I use on my phone.

Okay, if I was a writer and had to use an app on a device, I’m all sympathy.

THOSE WITH KEYBOARDS

There are those with keyboards who STILL don’t want nothing to do with Word. Maybe they’re Apple people who hate Microsoft “juss cuzz,” or they somehow came from some other word processor that’s obsolete. Of whatever the case. They’ve heard there’s something else out there.

ORGANIZATION

Many writers are disorganized. They’re scattered about, or have several different programs to compile their characters, plots, towns, locations, statistics, chapters, outlines, special words, bla bla bla. That has brought up the rise of all-in-one writing programs.

This is something Word doesn’t do. It doesn’t organize, fold, bend, staple, and mutilate all of this for you in one easy to access place. Some of these software packages do it for you on the fly, or supposedly do.

Some people are gleefully happy to discard Word for this stuff.

One problem.

Learning curve.

LEARNING CURVE

While writing software packages can be a cure-all for some people, there is the caveat that you have to learn all this crap. Since you have a complex bunch of programs melded together, you have to learn said complex melded programs, and all the ins and outs. This doesn’t happen overnight, though the learning curve may not be as hard as some things.

It all depends on how much effort and time you want to put into it and how much you want to take away from your actual writing to get it all done.

It could be worth it.

DEPENDS ON THE TYPE OF WRITER YOU ARE

If you’re just starting out, it might be worth it to invest the time, money and training in learning one of these complex writing packages to get a step ahead.

If you’ve been at things a while and are struggling, it might be worth it.

If you already have a system that works and are just restless, you’re better off spending all that pent up energy on a plot twist.

If you’re like me, I already have my methods that work, like yellow stickies on my computer desk, an encyclopedia for my fantasy series which I update as I go along, linear plots, and seat-of-the-pants writing style for everything else. I have no need to fix something that isn’t broke, especially after thirty years of experience with the Microsoft package.

SUMMARY

You’ll notice I didn’t mention a single other software package or writing program. First off, this isn’t an instruction article on any of them. I attended a single session on one of them conducted by our own Amanda Skenandore of the Henderson Writer’s Group. While an outstanding instructor, I knew after just a little while, the one she taught, Scrivner I believe (and don’t quote me on the spelling), wasn’t for me and instantly forgot the correct spelling of the name of that software package. She had a few converts at the meeting, but I wasn’t one of them. Everything she taught sounded great for someone who needs organization, but it was also stuff I already do in my own way, already using what I already have, with Word alone. I’m not sure if she still uses that software package, but whether she does or not, she’s come out with some outstanding stories and that has more to do with her writing skills than whatever software she uses.

Happy writing!

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