Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

A #2 Pencil and a Spiral Notebook

Advertising has always told us lies about the tools they are trying to sell us.

Lot's of them.

If you wear Michael Jordan's shoes, you'll play basketball like a pro from the NBA.
If you wear an Apple Watch you'll get in shape and be fit.
If you use this cookware from this infomercial you'll create beautiful, tasty gourmet meals.

The problem is we believe advertisers are advertising skills. They are not. They are advertising tools. And tools don't create skills.

The discussion of tools is at lewd proportions in the worlds of productivity, creativity, and writing. The classic question being,

"What kind of pencil does Stephen King use?"

We think if we have the right tools our world will change. We'll finally have what we need to create and live in a world of lavish beauty and productivity. This is an absolutely false mindset. Great tools do not replace great skills.

I have an old classical guitar made by some company called "Hondo". It's not the greatest tool. But replacing that guitar with a $5000 Martin will not make me a better guitar player. Eric Clapton could pick up my cheapo Hondo and make it sing.

Would I sound a little better if I had a Martin? Sure. But I would sound exponentially better if I were Eric Clapton. (Actually, I'd let either of these two play my Hondo Classical anytime. This duo is one of my favorite jams right now.)

It's not about the tools. It's about the skills.

At a granular level, upgraded computer equipment doesn't make me a better writer.

Writing makes me a better writer.

And I can do that with a #2 pencil and a spiral bound notebook.