Choose your tools wisely.


Good friend and ex-colleague, Harish, once told me, “we’ll end up thinking in rows and columns when we open a spreadsheet”. He’s right. If you’re going to ideate on a spreadsheet, there is no other way to think. This is why it’s important to choose your tools wisely.

Here’s how I approach some of my writing tools.

  • If I have an idea for an essay — typically one with an argument that connects multiple films — I put stickie notes on my wall and organise my thoughts.

  • If I have a single-point agenda — for a topic like ‘5 reasons why you should consider Kubernetes for your enterprise apps’ — I typically outline in a notebook. List the five reasons and what comes under it.

  • If I am writing a straight-forward film review, I sit down at my computer and type everything that comes to mind. And then, I rearrange/rewrite to make it work.

  • If I am writing long-form — though I don’t do as much as I’d like to — I set up a folder of sorts and keep adding information into it for weeks before I’m ready to organise them.

  • When I’m making presentations, I open a blank Keynote file and title the slides to have a framework. Then, I design and write them as I go along.

  • This applies to how I use Ulysses or iA Writer or Word or Google docs. Some clients don’t have Word and prefer Google Docs; So, I write there. This blog post itself is being written in Agenda, a note-taking app. I write for Twitter directly on Twitter, or build threads on TextEdit and copy-paste.

To me, the tool I choose serves just one purpose: To clarify my thoughts and help me write a good story. So, I pick what works.