Emacs Is Like a Warm Blanket

A friend of mine said, “You’ve got to stop writing in UNIX, your stories are coming out choppy.”

God bless him, he doesn’t know the difference between UNIX and Emacs. He was talking about how I can re-arrange whole sections of my writing using headers in Org mode. And he believed this god-like ability was hurting my writing, making it come out “choppy”.

I took the criticism far enough to attempt writing some stories in Libreoffice Writer. The idea was that writing in a different environment—in which I could not as easily swap sections around—would encourage me to write straight through and produce a more cohesive narrative.

I enjoyed the experiment, and it was interesting to see how using a different program would affect my style and process.

But the stories came out the same.

The choppiness in my stories was not a derivative of the software but of the author. I’ve fixed it now. (If you’re curious, I used index cards to lay out the main story beats before composing in Emacs. That’s it. Index cards and a pencil fixed my choppiness.)

But the point is this, I came back to Emacs. Because it doesn’t really matter what tool you use. The output is the same. The tool you like is the one that feels like a warm blanket. Jerry Seinfeld famously uses Bic pens and yellow legal pads. Most of the work, about 99% is done in the head. The medium is only useful for the last mile of the journey.

🕶 Yes!

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