Why Writing Books Is More Than Processing Words
Steven Johnson

I enjoyed this article because I also like to muse about the role of computer-based tools in the writing process. I’ve been writing using computers since the 1970s. It’s always a challenge to find a natural, nonintrusive writing process.

Right now, for example, I’m struggling to organize thoughts using Medium’s built-in text editor on an iPad. My favorite process used “More,” a classic Mac outliner designed by the ThinkTank people, and exporting to FrameMaker via a home-built reformatting filter.

I used the ThinkTank outliner to write my first scholarly journal article in the 1980s, even though I probably paid for the hefty $100 license myself. I used upgrades and variations of it to produce large-scale documents for the next 20 years, including my dissertation, numerous government contract reports, articles, papers, and my first two books.

I had just started to adapt myself to using Apple’s Pages when some product manager “improved” it by removing the outlining tools.

I’m almost afraid of your description of Scrivener, since it sounds too good to be true.

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