I know a lot of writers will tell you about their latest software or website plugin and claim it’s the best tool since the bread knife was invented, but I beg to disagree.? Or, to be more precise my best writer’s tool is different.
Please don’t misunderstand, I use many software systems – and I’ll share those someday – but this is the one tool I wouldn’t do without.
It’s really old-fashioned and it’s called pen and paper.? Seriously. In this day of electronic writing/publishing and online smorgasbords of information, I remain firmly satisfied with the most old-fashioned of tools.
What Kind Of Notebook
I use the cheapest notebooks I can find. Most often they’re coil-flex student notebooks (the kind that have 300 lined pages) and I pick them up wherever I happen to find a deal. Let’s hear it for September back-to-school sales!? At the moment, I’m using artist’s sketch notebooks because they were on sale for $1/each at a local outlet. I picked up a dozen and those should last at least a year.
I rather like the unlined ones but I’m not fussy. Given I tend to scribble – my primary school teachers despaired of ever teaching this left-hander to writer properly – lined or unlined is irrelevant for me.
I am starting to work on Book 2 in the Merlin series, and the notes here are some of my “first thoughts” about the story structure. I ask myself questions, point out possible relationships or options for story direction. It’s a venting kind of exercise to draw out the possibilities rather than a story road map.
I’ve tried pencils, and while some creatives prefer them, I’m a pen kind of writer. An old candy box full of gel-pens rather than a traditional ink style of ball-point graces the edge of my desk.
I also love colored pens and use them rather than markers (I have them too) for most of my highlighting/circling/squaring/emphasizing.
For a while I used fountain pens but wound up with messy hands (left-handed) and refilling them was a pain. Still like the idea but the execution left me a bit cold. I’d have a great idea and be running with it and the silly thing would run out ink. Rather than reach into the candy box for a new pen and keep writing, I’d have to stop and refill the darn thing. And yes, I know I could have multiple fountain pens (have you priced those things lately?) but?
Call me old-fashioned but pen and paper are my best writer’s tool.