The Right Tool for the Job

Not long ago I got a frantic email from a writer: I don’t see any corrections!

I knew I’d made plenty of corrections. I sent the manuscript again. Have a look at this one, I said. Who knows what happens to the bits and bytes on their way from my computer to yours? I don’t let these things worry me.

But: I still don’t see any corrections!

After another resend, the truth finally came out—he was reviewing the document on his smartphone.

Seriously, dude? Do not use your phone to check the manuscript and then waste my time telling me you can’t see any changes. Your phone may be “smart” but it ain’t that smart. It is not the right tool for the job.

We’ve talked about writerly tools before. Microsoft Word, track changes, and so on. If you want to run with the big dogs—and I know you do—you’ve got to use the tools the publishing professionals use. This means you can’t edit on an iPad. Or your phone.

“Smart” devices are very handy—they’re great for entertainment, they put a world of information at your fingertips. But if you’re serious about your writing, you should be serious about the tools too. There are no shortcuts for this writing thing, people.

And that includes being professional with your attention too. Nothing good is going to come of trying to squeeze in a little “work” while you’re out running around. Wait ’til you get to your writing place.* (We’ve talked about this too.) Then you can sit down and give the manuscript your full and undivided attention.

That, too, is the right tool for the job.

* When I first started freelancing I had my desk in an alcove of my bedroom. The Irishman insisted this was an unhealthy situation, and he was right. Every night—every single night!—I’d get ready to go to bed, look at that computer, and think, I’ll just check my email first. And then an hour later … or two hours … I’d finally go to bed. My desk is now in an office, and I am a more rested editor. :)

 

Tweet: Your phone may be “smart” but it ain’t that smart. It is not the right tool for the job.
Tweet: If you’re serious about your writing, you should be serious about the tools too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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One Comment

  1. Great post – and I think a lot of people (myself included, sometimes) think that there’s an extra bit of authenticity when we muddle through with substandard equipment.

    It’s a silly way to look at things, though I am pleased with the fact that I was able to turn out professional aircraft metalwork with an absurdly small suite of tools. But on reflection, those tools, matched with my skills, were indeed adequate to the job, and made the job possible at times. You can use a mallet and a shot bag to duplicate something thatwas produced in a factory seventy years ago with presses and drophammers…but buying the ‘real’ tools would have made the cost prohibitive.

  2. […] Yes, a while back, I wrote an article with some basics about track changes. We’ve also talked about why you need to use MS Word when you’re working with an editor, not Apple Pages. (Calm down, Mac users; I’ll establish my bona fides. To wit: I bought my first Mac in 1990 and have never, ever looked back. But MS Word is what we use in the book biz. It’s just the right tool for the job.) […]

One Trackback

  1. By Short Saturday: Track Changes From A to Z on 13 February, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    […] Yes, a while back, I wrote an article with some basics about track changes. We’ve also talked about why you need to use MS Word when you’re working with an editor, not Apple Pages. (Calm down, Mac users; I’ll establish my bona fides. To wit: I bought my first Mac in 1990 and have never, ever looked back. But MS Word is what we use in the book biz. It’s just the right tool for the job.) […]