What do you need to solve?

I understand the allure of wanting a new magical tool when times aren’t great. A new thing can often help begin a new habit, but is it really solving the actual need? Let’s look at the worksheets I’m slowly writing. Could new software and tech help me to do it faster? That’s what marketing would love me to believe.

What I really need to do is focus on writing (and editing). There’s a key word in that sentence. Yes, focus is essential, but I need to do the work. A new tool won’t do it for me.

While I use software to help me organize my writing, new tools wouldn’t speed up this process. While my choice helps me focus on the words and keeps me from taking the step too early to address how those words are formatted, a new tool would lead me down rabbit holes of learning how it worked. When I get closer to how these words will be shared with others, then I address how they will look.

Would other tech matter for this stage of my writing process? Yes, and no. Hours of typing can be painful for my hands and this has been the case for a very long time. In the past I’ve changed my keyboard but stopped using it when adapters and operating systems evolved, and it was no longer easily compatible.

I’m not one of those people who likes to handwrite drafts; for me, notebooks are for sketches and outlines. While it would be neat to have a device that could instantly transform my handwriting to digital text, I know that wouldn’t speed the process. I was 6 when I first began typing on a manual typewriter, and a keyboard is where I’m most comfortable transforming concepts into coherent words. I thought about training voice recognition software, but that also isn’t how I write. While there are newer models of the keyboard but all that was truly needed was to help it connect to my modern computer. The solution? A $10 keyboard adapter and I have returned to pain-free typing.

This is an extreme example to illustrate my goal in these worksheets. I want to help you learn to evaluate and use the tools you have and figure out when you need to upgrade. It takes time to learn how to do this without fear of missing out or fearing that you must spend more of your budget than you are comfortable doing. Does this mean you need to do everything yourself? No. As you work toward a better definition of what the problem is that needs to be solved, then you can find the right solution for both immediate needs and the future.

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