Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 13

Winning the fight

So on Thursday I continued my trend of wasting my time looking at changing to the OpenDocument format and all that. In the morning, I was able to confirm that LibreOffice, Google Docs, pandoc, and the other tools simply will not interoperate. That is to say that documents can not be written in one tool, then changed to another tool, without either losing information, investing a large amount of manual effort, or both.

By itself, that isn’t a killer. After all, I have been doing all my authoring in one tool (Emacs with Org mode and my custom Manuscript package) for some years. So, the question became: Could I put my books into the OpenDocument format and be happy working with them in LibreOffice?

And the answer is no.

LibreOffice is nice if you need to do typical work-in-an-office tasks, but that’s not what I do. My current system lets me track the work state of each part of each project, see all tasks across all projects in an overhead view, apply updates to formatting across all projects from a central control, export any or all of my projects to multiple e-book and print formats at any time, and many, many more things. I would miss these tools. Moreover, subtracting those capabilities would make my production more complicated, not less.

In the early afternoon I took a break to clear my head, the decided the experiment was a failure. Within a couple hours, I had everything back into my familiar system. Plain text rules!

Because I wound up with the best tool for the job, that’s a big win.


When I’m testing tools, instead of using the boring old lorem ipsum text that other people use, I invent another terrible piece about a character named Johnny Dyppschidt. I’ve written several hundred words about Johnny D. this week. He spent time with nuns, went to the rodeo, danced at a hoe-down, met a fiery young lady named Delilah who took a fancy to him, and proposed to her. It’s been fun, and I’m thinking I should make it real. Maybe.

It took some careful work to get my changes to Taxi Adventure back into the main file. That’s unfortunate, because it’s in a really fun state. The end is near, and I can smell the finished book the way you can smell the salt air before you can see the ocean.

In the evening I went off to a side job. When I got home I was tired, but I still managed to plug in a few hundred more words. I expect to have a big push this weekend, and I just might finish the damn thing.

I hope so. It would be about time.