What is this obsession with block editors recently?
Everybody and their sibling is rolling out a block editor with great fanfare. They slice, they dice, they make julienne fries…
They deny the concept of plain text, nor do they use OS-level rich text support, so they’re slow. (Nimbus Note concedes the possibility of plain text, but puts it in a code block. Seriously.) They purport to be rich text but severely limit the options of rich text, which doesn’t seem to make them any faster. You can move blocks around by dragging, which… what? Saves you the step of selecting before dragging? And like any modern rich text system I’m familiar with, the formatting codes (Which are there behind the scenes. Believe me.) are hidden, making it difficult to control what formatting I want to use.
I’m sorry. Give me Markdown in whatever flavour instead.
OK, so an email came recently asking me if I want to be on the Scrivener 3.0 beta test panel when it happens.
I said no.
I can hear you now: “What are you thinking, Silver Dragon? Why wouldn’t you want check out all the cool new features and find all the bugs in Scrivener 3.0?”
The short answer is that I don’t want to spend hours chasing bugs. I’m too much of a nitpicking perfectionist—and my vision of perfection doesn’t always match that of Literature and Latte. Besides, I did that for a living too damn long.
Yes, I produced some good blog posts as a result of being part of the iOS Scrivener beta team. But I’m convinced that the hours I spent on beta testing materially delayed releasing The Bully Trap. Besides, it’s stressful. If Scriv 3.0 is buggy when it comes out, getting work done with Scriv 2.8 will be… challenging. Not that I would—I’d spend hours reproducing bugs, documenting bugs, explaining bugs, explaining bugs again, finding more bugs that were uncovered after the first dozen were squashed…
The end result would be six weeks of beta in which I got one week of writing done. Again. No.
[Silver Dragon picks up a thumb drive from the seat of her desk chair, and inserts it into an empty USB slot on her Mac Mini. Immediately a rich baritone voice starts speaking.]
Good evening, Ms. Dragon. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to commit exercise, personal hygiene, dressing, morning pages, meditation with your hubby, daily planning, and breakfast — all within the first two hours after arising in the morning. As always, if you are captured or killed, the Agency will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Silver.
[She hastily throws the thumb drive in the trash, which promptly catches fire. Holding her breath to avoid the fumes of burning plastic, she throws open a window and starts an exhaust fan. ]
“Dammit! Is this going to happen every single night? I’m running out of trash cans.”
Keeping on with writing takes much, much more courage than I ever imagined. It’s so easy to let other things take precedence because, after all, I’m not “proven.” It’s not a “real job.” Besides, it’s too hard. Just ask my mother. She’s been dead thirteen years now, and I can still hear her nasal Okie sneer saying, “What makes YOU think YOU can do that?”
I can finish a first draft now; I’ve learned to use the peer pressure of NaNoWriMo to propel me through writing fifty thousand words, but that’s letting fear of social disapproval grow to the point where it overwhelms the fear of public shame from publishing a bad novel.
I’m tired of operating from a place of fear. I want to be the hero of my own life, damn it. I want to learn to write with joy and grace. I want to finish something I’m proud of. I want to share it with readers, and I want them to keep pressing the “next page” button until The End.
What makes me think I can do that? Well, hell, what makes me think I can’t?