Friday, January 07, 2005

Chase Better Not New

Are you chasing the latest gadget or gizmo to improve your writing life? The magazines and the news media is constantly rolling out new products and touting different features. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy and believe that if you have the right program or the right computer, it’s going to make you a better writer or better editor. I’ve found there is not always a connection between new and better.

Years ago, I interviewed bestselling author Chuck Swindoll. At the time he was not using a computer for his word processing. Instead, he wrote with a pen and a legal pad. With all sincerity, he told me, “Terry, I want to write better not faster.” The lesson stuck. I feature bestselling authors and how they practice their writing craft in my Right Writing News (free). Also several of my lead articles from this newsletter are located here. I want to work smarter and more effective. Some times, that means using a proven tool to become better. For example, I’m using BlogJet to write this post to my blog. It’s a proven tool which has been around and gives me flexibility to not write my post online.

In recent days, I’ve been appreciating the advice in Working Smart, written by Mike Hyatt, the President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. On a variety of topics, Mike has some solid, proven wisdom. It’s a focus on better, not necessarily new. At a recent lunch meeting, I noticed the other two men pulled out their Treos and laid them on the table. They didn’t use them but off and on, they were glancing at them, monitoring their email. I do have a cell phone but not a Blackberry or Treo (some people call them Crackberry because of the addictive nature of these gadgets). I don’t need to be that accessible to people—nor do I want to be. My preference is to read email and answer email on my schedule—not on demand.

I will continue to read articles about new products and new programs but I don’t necessarily purchase them. It’s a matter of evaluating whether they are right or not for my writing life.

8 Comment:

At 11:13 AM, Blogger violet Left a note...

Do you, or people you work with, have any experience with fiction-writing software? I'm tempted by WritePro - a Sol Stein product. Or is his book 'Stein on Writing' (which I have and it's excellent) sufficient?

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Violet, I've used and reviewed most of Sol Stein's computer related products like WritePro--plus I've personally met Mr. Stein at one of his lectures. The interactive nature of WritePro and the other programs are excellent and recommended. You can learn more at:
WritePro. Thanks for the comment. Terry

At 2:55 PM, Blogger relevantgirl Left a note...

Gadgets are maddening! But, I do admit that I couldn't do what Chuck did. I love my computer. Love typing on it. Love composing with a keyboard.

Interesting thing is, though, that I glean ideas when I'm away from technology. When I run or hike in the mountains, my head clears and I am able to noodle on new ideas.

Take that, technology!

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

Terry, I couldn't resist commenting on this topic, because I'm one who loves reading about gadgets & gizmos. The Writer magazine manages to reel me in and lure me to websites that feature such products. I must not be as gadget-savvy as I thought, though, because I'd never heard of a Treo!

I agree with savvygirl...my best mental writing comes through stepping away from technology. In fact, I began another book this morning while folding towels, and was able to transfer three pages of mental notes to my trusty spiral notebook in no time flat. Keyboards are speedy, but nothing beats a spiral and a pen with a really good grip.


At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Left a note...

Guess I butchered relevantgirl's blog name. Sorry about that! (Not quite sure how I managed to turn relevantgirl into savvygirl. Go figure.)

At 9:18 AM, Blogger daniel Left a note...

I personally agree with that. That is my own humble opinion of course.
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At 9:43 AM, Blogger Jason Left a note...

I couldn't agree anymore. Keep up the great work :-) I love the active comments

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At 12:15 PM, Blogger Jason Left a note...

Great commenting. Great posts. Great job! :-)Very good job
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