by Mary Ann Kerr
The tools for writing can be a distraction. There are so many programs from which to choose and which one is the best for writing? How does one know which one to choose? I have a MacBook Air and love it. When writing, I usually use pages, but I also have Scrivener which is a great program for writers. Whatever program one uses doesn’t make for better writing. I wish it were that easy!
The technology out there is phenomenal and right at our fingertips. It’s given me a great appreciation for the written word before computers. Can you imagine having to go to the library, find the book card in the card catalogue, record the number or letters or author, find the book, scan through it for the information (hoping it’s there), write copious notes or check out the book? I am thankful for the internet and being able to find information so easily even if it can be frustrating at times.
If I start looking at all the programs that are available, I can get bogged down. Sometimes, my program will say, “cliche or overused modifier, use sparingly.” When that happens, I will most likely change the word, using a thesaurus to help me find the perfect one. When I taught middle school, I used to write on the whiteboard, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and Thesaurus and ask my students, “Which one of these is still alive?” I have found the thesaurus extremely helpful when writing.
Crafting words or putting them together to make them come alive is something about which I am passionate. When writing, I want my words to speak to the heart of my audience. Creating something which brings pleasure to the reader is the goal of every writer. I love the way God fills my mind with ideas, mostly new but some used. The programs, although many, have nothing to do with how one writes.
We can get hung up on so many things, punctuation, clauses, commas, all kinds of things, but it’s important to let that go and just write. One can always clean it up later, but if you’re story is flowing, don’t sweat the small stuff. Just WRITE!
Yes, we can get bogged down with semantics. I just looked it up: Semantics: the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. There are a number of branches and subbranches of semantics, including formal semantics, which studies the logical aspects of meaning, such as sense, reference, implication, and logical form, lexical semantics, which studies word meanings and word relations, and conceptual semantics, which studies the cognitive structure of meaning.
No matter what programs one uses or how little or great one knows how to use their computer, or the ability to use the technology, the competence with which you craft your words will make or break your story.
Mary Ann Kerr lives in Washington State with her husband, Philip. Living in various parts of the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Denmark, her travels have flavored her writing. Besides writing Christian historical fiction, Mary, a retired teacher, speaks at women’s retreats and luncheons. She has four sons and twelve grandchildren.