The Tools of the Trade


by Raymond M. Coulombe

Once in a while we hear about some old time writer who hasn’t moved into the computer age. They may be still banging out novels on an old cast iron typewriter. How about those writers who still do the first draft longhand on legal pads? What’s wrong with these guys? Here’s the thing, they turn out books -never mind the tools they use to get it done.

That’s the point, they get the job done. Just because you can write faster on a computer doesn’t mean you can write better. Then there were those writers like Issac Asimov who turned out huge numbers of books in the days before computers were common. Never discount the force of a writer who loves to write more than just about anything else.

So what’s the point? Just about all of us use computers these days. Maybe we shouldn’t be as completely dependent on them as we are? I’m not saying we should go back to clay tablets and cuneiform. Then again, if it inspires your muse, go for it.

Personally, if I’m suffering from writer’s block, noodling around in a notebook breaks the logjam. I’m not limited to lines on a computer screen. Before long the page is full of scribbles, circles with connecting lines, underlined words, crossed out words, and even maps and sketches. It works. Feel free to try it yourself.

Whatever tool gets the job done is the right tool.

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