The Tools Don’t Matter

This post by author Jason Gurley speaks to me:

The work is what matters, not the tools. In fact, it’s important, too, to acknowledge that high-quality tools often discourage the work. It’s easy to feel like you can’t make a mark on that beautiful paper, can’t sharpen away the perfect core of that pencil, because whatever you’d use it for isn’t worth as much as those tools.

Well, that’s bullshit, and intellectually, we all know it, but it’s worth reiterating. That’s bullshit. I’ve heard of writers who immediately scribble all over the first beautiful page of an expensive notebook, thereby claiming the book as theirs, and disappearing the pressure to create perfection within its pages.

The work is what matters, and the only thing that has to show up to do the work is you. The tools don’t really matter, and you shouldn’t wait for the best tools to do your work, and you shouldn’t agonize over using the best tools once you’ve got them.

I used to collect beautiful artisanal leather-bound notebooks at a rate of 1–2 a year. I’d never dare put ink in them. Even Moleskines took a lot of willpower to break in. Now I buy cheap Word. notebooks in packs of 3. It takes all the pressure off and I can actually write stuff. (That “scribble immediately” method sounds pretty attractive, too; I might pick that up for good measure.)

Odyssey: Day 8

You didn’t miss the first seven, I’m just jumping in here. I’m spending September on the most advanced, complex and challenging professional project I’ve ever done, so I’ve decided to journal my month in order to 1) keep myself sane, 2) maintain a light, let’s say rosy-knuckled grasp on my humanity, and 3) maybe build up a little momentum and keep this up after the 30th.

The project is technical in the extreme, but I’ll give a shot at making it accessible to non-technical readers. (God knows if I have any non-technical readers, or, for that matter, technical ones. I’m probably just talking to myself here.) Let me give you a bird’s-eye view, the way an entry in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy might help you make your gentle acquaintance with a spiky topic: imagine a house.

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Some Darkness and Grit

City View by Robert Kim

Writing is hard and slow. Writing about writing is a little easier and a little faster. So I thought I’d do some of that, being the pretentious wastrel that I am.

Back in 2008, some friends and I started writing a story. It was about resistance, revolution and underground struggle, or at least as we—a gaggle of college kids who were raised on space opera, were in love with the romantic, revisionist narrative of World War II, and thought George Bush was as bad an antichrist as America could conceivably anoint—understood those things. The story was called “White Rose,” after the resistance group formed in Nazi Germany in 1942, whose core members were university students in Munich: kids about the same age as we were, and who, as Christian pacifists, must have rolled in their graves every time our protagonists mowed down a battalion of government jackboots with machine guns.

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