I love my fountain pens. I have a half-dozen quality fountain pens including a Mont Blanc Meisterstuck 149 that I rarely use because it’s just too big. Oh it’s a status symbol and an expensive one at that, but what’s the point if it doesn’s suit the task? My favorite pen is a Parker Vacumatic. I bought this 1947 vintage pen five years ago. It writes like a dream, it’s a great sketching pen and it’s comfortable in my hand.
As a writer, I’m concerned with words and ideas. It feels good to simply get a clean sheet of paper, uncap my Vacumatic and start writing. Do I write out all my articles and posts? No. I write longhand when I’m thinking, when I’m in the flow of the words and I don’t want the distractions of a computer.
When I do turn my computer on, I only use a word processor when I must. I don’t use Word, I have Open Office Writer installed on my system. But both of these programs are a lot like my Meisterstuck. They’re too big and cumbersome. To quote another writer who shall remain anonymous because I don’t remember where I saw the quote: “I’m a writer, why would I want to process words?”
When writing a first draft all you really need is a simple text editor. Spelling checkers, word count, thesaurus, or dictionary are all distractions when you need to get the words and ideas out there.
All writing is rewriting. When you’re editing and refining your drafts, then you need to check your spelling, track your word count, look up meanings in an electronic dictionary and search for the perfect word with a thesaurus. My text editor gives me all of these and stays out of my way otherwise.
Why do so many writers use a bloated word processor like Word? Sometimes you don’t have a choice. If your editor insists on a Word doc, that’s what you give them, but if you need a plain text file to paste into your blog’s editor, why not use an editor that’s designed for the task?