The Study: Issue #36 - You Are Not Your Tools

Don't get wrapped up in new tools. Plus, register for a new podcasting webinar hosted by yours truly.

Podcasting 101: Getting Started and Finding Your Voice Webinar

I’ll be hosting a Podcasting 101 Zoom webinar for the East Brunswick Public Library on July 22 at 6:00 pm EST.

Join experienced podcaster Harry Marks as he walks you through the process of starting your own podcast. You’ll learn about hardware and software for every budget, the steps to launching your very own show, and how to build an audience of loyal listeners, plus much more!

To register for the event, click here.

You Are Not Your Tools

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I like to test out a lot of new tools—some I even link here in this newsletter. Sometimes I'm trying to simplify or streamline a part of my process. Other times I'm not satisfied with a particular tool I've been using. I can usually tell within a few minutes whether an app, or pencil, or pen, or other item is going to work for my needs. However, when it comes down to it, I have to remember that no new, shiny thing is going to get the words down faster. It's not going to make me a better writer.

The new leather journal and fountain pen you ordered aren't going to make your thoughts deeper or make you write with them each morning. You have to do that. You have to put in the work.

This isn't the same as, say, moving from Google Docs to Scrivener to make the act of compiling your book easier. Or because you don't trust Google Docs not to lose your work or sell your information to third-party advertisers. This is about moving to Scrivener because you think it'll make you a "real" writer.

It won't.

If you want to be a real writer, you have to write and no app or tool is going to do that for you.

So don't feel like every new thing is going to make your life easier. More often than not, the act of getting used to a new tool is going to slow you down and keep you from the real work of getting the words on the page. Focus on writing the best damn book you can with what you have already. You can pull out a legal pad and a Bic pen and get to work right away, or open a fresh Word doc and just start writing.

You are not your tools and your tools aren't going to make you a better writer. For that, you need to focus on your craft, on writing and reading as much and as often as possible.

So go do it.

Links & Headlines

Gabrielle Bellot points out what the Harper’s letter gets wrong; New York Times Magazine’s take on The Decameron” | Bookforum

Print Run Podcast Episode 134: “The Letter” | Soundcloud

The Female Bartender You Meet in a Sports Movie” by Madeline Anthes | MONKEYBICYCLE

Authors, Customers Demand Borderlands Books Owner Divest from Store” by Claire Kirch | Publishers Weekly

Your Morning Routine: Start Small and Stack” by Charlie Gilkey | Productive Flourishing

Librarians Turned Google Forms Into the Unlikely Platform for Virtual Escape Rooms” by Aliya Chaudhry | The Verge

Kraft Desk Pad | Denik

Handmade Stationery Set Tutorial” by Lindsey Bugbee | The Postman’s Knock

Readwise: Book and Article Highlighting App


A section devoted to current submission opportunities without submission fees.

Tor Nightfire Unagented Submissions — adult horror novels and novellas from BIPOC writers only | Deadline: July 22

Luna Station Quarterly — circus-themed short fiction | Deadline: August 22

Mysterion — speculative short fiction | Deadline: July 31

Girls Right the World — poetry, prose, and visual art of any style or theme | Deadline: December 31

Storm Cellar — Prose, poetry, art, images. See website for themes and details | Deadline: Rolling

34 Orchard — Short fiction, poetry | Deadline: July 31

Blueline Magazine — poems, stories and essays about the Adirondacks and regions similar in geography and spirit, focusing on nature's shaping influence | Deadline: November 30

The Awakenings Review — poetry, short stories, dramatic scenes, essays, photographs, excerpts from larger works, and black-and-white cover art about personal experience with mental illness | Deadline: Rolling

The Absurdist — funny/strange flash fiction | Deadline: Rolling

CHILLFILTR — short fiction, personal essays, poetry, memoirs | Deadline: Rolling

Red Planet Magazine — Fiction, poetry, non-fiction, visual arts | Deadline: Rolling

Borrowed Solace: Fall 2020 Issue (Theme: Mysticism) — fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, art & photography | Deadline: July 31

About Place Journal — creative non-fiction, poetry, fiction, hybrid work, video and artwork | Open for Submissions: June 1 | Deadline: August 1

Northwest Review — Translation, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essay, graphic narrative | Deadline: Unclear

Volney Road Review — poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction | Deadline: August 1st

Scrivener Tip of the Week — Opening Documents in a Copyholder

Sometimes you need to have a reference document open while you’re working on another document in your project. To open a reference document from the Binder in a Copyholder:

  1. Option-drag (or Alt-drag on Windows) the document from the Binder

  2. Drop it on an Editor Header Bar

  3. The document will open right beside the original document so you can compare them.

In Case You Missed It…

Check out my last newsletter, where I posted a video of my Camp NaNoWriMo Notion setup.


If you like the work I do, be it here, or on any of the podcasts I work on, please consider sharing this newsletter, donating to my Ko-Fi, buying my book at one of the links below, or subscribing to my podcasts, The Shelf Life and Home Work. Every little bit helps.

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