Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Sean T. Collins

Sean T. Collins

Writer (comics, Rolling Stone, BuzzFeed)

Posted in mac, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name's Sean T. Collins. I write comics that other people draw; you could start with this or this or this or this. I write about television and sometimes other things for Rolling Stone. I write about music for BuzzFeedMusic. I review comics and interview cartoonists for The Comics Journal. I write and podcast about George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and their HBO adaptation Game of Thrones for All Leather Must Be Boiled. I do all of the above and then some at my home blog Attentiondeficitdisorderly, located at I run half a dozen tumblrs.

What hardware do you use?

I'm on a MacBook 6.1 from a couple years ago. As with my car, a 1997 Nissan Altima we bought used from my wife's parents, "Will this get me from place to place successfully, y/n" is about the extent of the thought I pay to the thing, or, really, to any hardware or software I use. I just don't have a mind for gear, and any time spent worrying about whether I could be running something faster or smarter or sleeker is time spent not writing, which is usually about all I have the attention span to focus on. I just need it to work. I get frustrated very easily by anything a whole lot more complicated than an on/off switch if it starts to cause trouble.

Anyway, that's about it for hardware, unless you count listening to music on a 180GB iPod Classic, which maybe you should since I almost never write without music on.

And what software?

I use Microsoft Word 2004 for writing comic scripts and freelance assignments. It's clearly ready to crash and burn at this point, but I'm hoping to coast into town on fumes. If I were to switch word processing programs...well, see above. To me it'd feel like wandering into a strangers house and being expected to host a party. Which cupboard has the glasses? Which drawer has the silverware? Nope, that one's oven mitts. Anyway. The most likely solution will be to just get a more recent version of Office, but reupping with Microsoft feels like some sort of personal failure. Years and years of personal and professional Apple use by both my wife and myself have inculcated the cult values in our heads but good.

I also use TextEdit, primarily for note-taking on shows I'm reviewing and for writing blog entries offline. It's lighter and quicker and if I'm writing out the html of a post by myself it's less likely to monkey with the coding than Word when you copy and paste it into wherever you're copying and pasting it into. I think I stick with Word for more formal, professional writing both because it's more robust and because handing in an assignment as a Word document is how I've handed in assignments for, what, decades now? Hard habit to break.

I use Chrome for the internet after I got fed up with Firefox's crashing earlier this year. I'm pretty happy with it, though Firefox was better at popping up previously viewed pages in the address bar when you started typing the first few letters, and that's a function I really rely on. Chrome's built-in search functionality is superior, though.

I use Wordpress for my main blog. Lots of control, lots of reliability. After years of blogging first on a jerryrigged system a friend designed and then on the execrable Movable Type, it works like a dream for what I do with that blog.

My other blogs are all niche affairs created for the express purpose of making a lot of quick posts, whether image- or text-based, on topics that would otherwise clog up the main site, so Tumblr seemed like a natural fit. The near-instant, visible feedback is a high, for sure, and compensates some for all the things you notice you can't do with it when you're used to Wordpress, or just all the things it should be able to do better than it does. (Reordering the queue, ugh.) Lately I've also taken to creating individual dedicated tumblrs for single comics I've written, so that I can tailor the look of the page to the tone of the comic as well as make it easier to share. Hottest Chick in the Game, a horror comic that artist Andrew White and I made about the musician Drake, really took off in no small part thanks to its presence on tumblr.

I use Twitter for linking and venting and keeping up with the Joneses. It's a river of discourse in which I dip my toes or completely immerse myself as needed. You can drown, though, for sure. Unfiltered feedback from my peer group has been both the best and the worst technological thing when you're in a bad way.

What would be your dream setup?

Unlimited shelf space! Man, that is an easy, easy question to answer. I want to work in a vast cavernous hall lined floor to ceiling with my books so I never have to get rid of one again. I miss them when they go, and again, cleaning and sorting and pruning eats up valuable mental-emotional bandwidth. Last night I spent two hours going through a stack of unread minicomics about two feet high for which I have no room, and now I feel hung over.