Writers have always tended to have a complicated relationship with the tools they use to write. Some of them praise the fluid ease of writing in a fresh bound notebook with a high-quality fountain pen; others insist that only #2 pencils and a legal pad will do. (Lord Dunsany allegedly wrote his stories with a peacock-feather quill pen, but he was the 18th Baron Dunsany and could get away with such things.)
Other writers love new tech. Mark Twain was an early adopter of the typewriter, for example. For a while in the mid-twentieth century, composing directly on the typewriter, instead of just using it to make a fair copy for submission, nevertheless had a faintly non-literary smell – an aroma of hackwork, as it were — in the noses of sensitive readers and critics.
Then along came dedicated word processors, followed shortly by word processing programs running on personal computers, and the people who had been looking down on typewriters switched to looking down on word processors and waxing nostalgic about their old muscle-powered Remingtons and Underwoods.
And so it goes, and keeps on going. Even among the computerati, there are writers who eagerly embrace each new development (Google Docs! Scrivener!) and others who lovingly maintain a vintage PC for the express purpose of running their copy of WordStar or Leading Edge.
Which is all taking the long way around to saying that I’m composing this blog post using Microsoft Live Writer for the first time, and if anything about it looks strange or funky or unexpected . . . well, you’ll know why.