Bruce Snyder is feeling some
distress about Word:
Unfortunately I am required to use Microsoft Word to write this book. Anyone
who knows me knows that my choice would be VIM
but I haven’t figured out how to author XML documents that make use of
DocBook and keep some type of styles intact
upon conversion to Word.
Bruce, here is the secret: don’t mix the task of writing with the tax of
First, write the text. Word, emacs, vi, notepad, it doesn’t matter. Just write
the text, the code, the remarks, maybe you can use a few newlines to help you
visually, but perform *no* formatting whatsoever. I call that "Typing kilometer
text" (yeah, I am still a metric system person).
Then when you’re done with a decent chunk (I usually do that after a chapter),
proofread yourself and start using the mouse to format your text.
I wrote my PhD dissertation and a book using this technique and the amount of
productivity I gained was just astounding. Plus, it allowed me to leverage the
strengths of all the tools (emacs and Word) while not being hampered by their
weaknesses. It’s also a great way to "stay in the zone" when you are on a
good writing roll, and you don’t get distracted by stupid formatting issues.
And as a matter of fact, I just noticed I use this very technique for my
weblog entries as well… You learn something every day.