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Word Processors — One Writer's Further Retreat 391

ch-dickinson writes "In 2003, I posted an essay ('Word Processors: One Writer's Retreat') here about my writing experience — professional and personal — that led to a novel draft in vi(m), and I outlined reasons I chose a simple non-WYSIWYG text editor rather than a more full-featured word processor. A few novels later, in 2010 now, I decided to try a text editor that predates even vi: ed. I'd run across ed about 20 years ago, working at a software company and vaguely recalled navigation of a text file meant mentally mapping such commands as +3 and -2: ed didn't click with me then. But writing a novel draft is mule work, one sentence after another, straight ahead — no navigating the text file. The writer must get the story down and my goal is 1,000 words a day, every day, until I'm done. I have an hour to 90 minutes for this. So when I returned after two decades, I was impressed with how efficiently ed generates plain text files." Read on for the author's brief account of why he looked a few decades back in the software universe to find the right tool for the job.

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