Last week, the Editorially team announced that they were closing up shop and began the process of an orderly shut-down. The loss has been difficult primarily because I loved the tool and the team, and I thought they deserved to succeed. I still think that, and I’m going to be sad for a long time, and I may eventually write more about why. But today I’m going to be selfish instead, because the secondary reason I took this loss hard is that Editorially had become indispensable to my work. Losing it feels like losing a cherished and necessary robot-arm.
Editorial work—reading, drafting, revising, reviewing, line-editing, copyediting, marking up, illustrating, and publishing—is what I do for a living. It’s also a good chunk of what I do for love. And like a programmer with very specific requirements for their dev environment, I care a lot about the details of my editorial tools: how they work, what they allow, how they look, how trustworthy they seem.
I generally work hard to keep myself from getting attached to software, because anything that changes so easily is one day going to break your heart. Editorially was a beautifully made exception, though, and I find myself flailing, hard, as I try to learn to work without software that did everything but feed me peeled grapes and croon encouraging words in my ear.
— Erin Kissane (@kissane) February 11, 2014
I’ve tried a bunch of alternatives, from the ultralight to the engineer-complicated, but nothing is making my heart sing. And as importantly, I’m just not interested in getting attached to tools that the market can snatch out of my hands. I don’t want another app, another platform, another thing to learn and test and integrate. I want to do my work. Which is what the Editorially project was ultimately all about.
So I’m done shuffling along sadly reviewing software. Editorially was superb, and I’m so pleased to have had it. But even though it got me writing regularly again, I still wasn’t doing the hardest thing and getting the stuff I wrote out into the world. I have plenty of good reasons for delaying, but it ultimately comes back to my unwillingness to publish things that aren’t quite good enough. And I value unrealistically high standards, but right now, they’re keeping me from doing the work I can do with the brain, life, and text-processing software I actually have.
I’ve downloaded a zip file with all my Editorially projects, and if I don’t get them shaped up now, they’re going to sink into the depths of my harddrive like dumb little stones. So I’m ditching the fancy things and rolling back to a text editor and my trusty WordPress install. And I’m going to honor the tremendous efforts of my friends and colleagues who made a lovely thing despite the risks, by hitting publish earlier and oftener. Starting with this, here, today, now.