These days, if you want to write anything, including just your ordinary diary, like the one you maybe did in high school, you use a plethora of different writer’s tools. It could be a few specialist sites or writer-oriented applications. Usually both. I just did a quick check - only on the web browser, I use the most I have ten extensions or prominently bookmarked writer’s tools sites. And that does not include the eternally amusing Google Translate (although I must admit they are constantly working to improve it). It includes all you can imagine, grammar and spell checkers, web-clippers, the clarity of your text checkers, and so on. The applications that include special note-taking programs, Evernote, an array of text processors I don’t dare even count.
And here is, with that prophetic Kraftwerk song “Man-Machine” coming to mind, where the question arises, when do such tools, any and all of them take over your work and start to dominate, and should you trust them blindly?
I remember almost twenty years ago when a group of us, good friends who work together, sat in what is euphemistically called around here “a coffee shop” when a friend said he was working on an app that would be a random generator for political speeches. It must have been that “incidental smoke”, but whatever example he would put out, it would sound incredibly hilarious and incredibly realistic. Basically, all the phrases his generator came up with were incredibly nonsensical and sounded like something you heard on the news a few seconds ago.
In essence, any and all of these writer’s tools are incredibly useful and can still make an incredible mess of your work too. And here is where Bruce Springsteen comes to mind with his “where’s that human touch” (I’m paraphrasing his lyrics, although I have at least two bookmarks for lyrics sites).
Of course, you should use these tools. Actually, it is a must. But then, in the end, it is your approximation of truth, reality, fiction fantasy or whatever you are presenting…
You see, that grammar checker might just as well miss something, or even withhold something until you pay that $9.99 per month… And it will definitely warn you of something like these three dots I keep insisting on. All these sites, programs, apps, they fit quite well with that famous James Brown quote (from one of those quote sites) when asked about his influence on other musicians playing funk: “I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know”.
And yes, I will run this text through one of those checkers before I post it. But I’ll certainly keep these dots around. They’re mine. I want them there.