Clearing the cobwebs

So, a funny thing happened while I was clearing out the cobwebs in my last post. I was in a low place as far as writing was concerned, full of self doubts. To be honest, I still am, and yet somehow I’m feeling a little more upbeat about it all. Part of that, I think, is because I have begun to go back to basics.

When some people refer to going back to the basics, they invoke images of pens and paper pads. Alas, not so much here, at least not for the bulk of my writing (I do that occasionally, but not often.).

First, some context. We’re doing the homeschool thing again with the kids, which means a lot of home projects and time spent online. The program we began with initially required each of the kids to be able to get online for video conferences multiple times a day. That meant a lot of bandwidth in use, but even worse, that there were times when each of the girls needed a computer of her own.

And so, my aging iMac went to the youngest. The decision wasn’t an easy one, but there were other contributing factors. While still a good computer, it needs more RAM to continue to be usable for my work when I’m home. Not for writing, but for the actual day to day work from home stuff. Because of the model, it has to be sent out to get more memory added, which means it’s going to cost hundreds just for the maintenance. Money that could better be spent towards a new computer for me.

That’s when I realized I didn’t want a Mac for my next computer. It’s been a great run, but I’m ready to go back to using something I’m more comfortable with, namely Linux. I’ve picked out the model and brand, but that started raising other questions.

The software I’ve used for the last few years to write is Scrivener. It’s an amazing, flexible application, that someday will have an iPad version. But as I find myself moving away from Apple and their products, that tie just isn’t enough.

A month or so ago, I tried out Ulysses, another writing app for Macs. This one is based on the simplicity of using (muti)markdown for formatting. I’ve extolled the virtues of (muti)markdown before, but althought I wasn’t enamored with Ulysses itself, I was intrigued by the idea of writing in markdown.

You see, using markdown gives me freedom. I can use any editor, on any platform. Until it comes time to render it, all my editor has to support is plain text. For someone looking for cross platform writing tools, that’s like a magic formula.

I might post some links to some helpful resources (or, egads, become one myself), but I’m still feeling the waters on this. I have a novel project (or two) I’m working on right now that are doing well. Simpler writing tools means less distraction, more focussing on just getting the words out of my head. Well see how well that translates in the final product. I will say that I’ve written every day for 75 days now (a modest number), but it’s only been in the last week that I’ve seen my word counts start to jump again. Some of that may be the length I’m writing to – I find that short stories are harder to get write and take longer than an equal number of words in a novel length project. But we’ll see.

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