Lillith Black

Exploring life through writing

Be Flexible With Your Tools

Every writer has a favorite method of putting words on paper.

Some like composition books and a #2 pencil. Some love a pretty moleskin journal and a nice, easy flowing pen. Some love laptops and some are cool with a tablet on a go and some still use good old typewriters.

I am a computer geek by day, so naturally I started with laptop. I thought that the ability to erase and replace words, cut and paste and move paragraphs around would be so awesome. However all I got a confirmation of doubt and self-criticism, when an ever-helpful word processing program began highlighting in green and red every grammatical and syntax error I have made, and an elusive word count was front and center. I began to dread writing as every time I opened the file, as if it was the judgement day and eventually I stopped writing all together.

One day I was at my favorite book store and I noticed a pretty journal that I just couldn’t take my eyes off of. I bought it and decided that this was my new writing method where I will not be judged and scribbling is welcomed. To my amazement, the trick worked. I began to write in it almost every day. It was a perfect size and fit in any of the bags I used, so it followed me everywhere. I used it so much that eventually one of the covers fell off and I had to tape it together. I ended up filling it up till last page and then buying another one of the same kind to finish my novel. Retyping handwritten pages was a hassle, but I didn’t mind. I found a method that worked for me.

Eventually I went back to my laptop and disabled spelling and grammar checking as well as display of word count. My laptop is small and fits into any bag  just like my journal did so I drag it everywhere. Having typed up my previous novel on it along with the judgement augmentation in a form of disabled features brought me and my laptop closer together and now I write on it freely.

I still keep some pretty journals handy as sometimes their covers inspire me to write and I want to have an option of switching from computer to paper whenever I feel like not to get stuck on a single writing preference and limit myself.

What is your favorite surface to write on? What tricks do you use to relax before writing that first word of the day?

 

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7 Replies

  1. I am conflicted. I have always loved paper, which includes journals. I love looking at the different covers of journals, and would love to buy many. Then, I tell myself that I need to use up the ones I already have… The problem I do have with journals is that I tend to be a perfectionist, and I don’t like to scribble out mistakes…I try to make everything look pretty. And that causes issues in itself. For that reason, my laptop is good, because it is easier to delete and re-type, and not have the “mess”. So, like you, I like the option of having both. I just need to realize that it’s okay to not have a perfect-looking journal. 🙂

    1. I go back and forth. Just like you I love a nice clean journal and I have several that I haven’t touched because they are so pretty that I don’t want to mess them up. And then pf course an issue of a perfect pen that is not too dry but also doesn’t smudge. When I do decide to use a journal I give myself a permission to be messy in it since I know Muse will forgive me. Remember, flowers grow from a dirt 😉

      Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment!

  2. Our story is much the same. I started out with the journal–a good chunk of my first novel is in one. I used to always keep my story ideas and do warm-ups in my journal. Then, I got the Index Card app on my phone. Now my story and blog ideas go there. A new laptop came into my life, and it’s so much easier and nicer to use than my old one that now I find I’m doing all my writing on it. It weighs about as much as a journal, so is very portable. I’m curious to see how my preference evolve as we enter summer and are traveling more.

    1. Thank you for reading my post! Now I wonder about the Index Card app you have mentioned, I will definitely check it out. A lot of times I am on a go and don’t have my usual writing tools on me, but I always have my phone. I have even considered recording/dictating my ideas but haven’t tried it yet.

      Thank you for taking time to leave the comment!

      1. I’ve actually dictated ideas into my phone when driving. I seem to get big ideas on long road trips.

        1. I have tiny MP3 player that also offers voice recording, I’m thinking to try ot out. I used to spend hours in traffic, but now I’m rarely spending 20 min since I moved. Perhaps I can ise ot when I do my walks.