Monday, March 10, 2014

Hooked on Notebooks

I've changed my process over the years.  I used to do all my first drafts longhand.  This was back when laptops were first hitting the scene and carrying around a pen and notebook was just way easier than lugging around a computer.  I eventually had to give up longhand rough drafts for time and carpel tunnel's sake.  Now, I do all my notes, plotting, and preliminary work in notebooks and all my writing on my computer.

Why in this increasingly paperless age do I stick with pen and paper at all?  Part of it is tactile.  The pen flowing over the page makes me happy.  It's certainly not for clarity.  My handwriting is just atrocious (not an exaggeration).  It's actually difficult for me to read some of my notes due to the deranged nature of my penmanship.  I do love using the icons I've created over the years: huge arrows and asterisks to indicate important notes, sad faces when I've said something stupid.  My ability to take notes, mark up, and cross out (but note delete) info helps my brain sort out the wheat from the chaff. 

But the real reason why I use pen and paper is because it is a habit, and sometimes that's the most important thing to a writer.  Crutches, ones that don't hurt your creativity, productivity or health - I'm looking at you alcohol and junk food - can be a huge boost to a writer.  I LOVE hunching over a pad of paper and scribbling like a mad woman, preferably while sipping on coffee and listening to experimental music.  Does it help me?  I think so.  Writing is slower than typing and it forces my brain to slow down even when it wants to fly off the handle.  It gives me something physical I can flip through and something portable but not ever present.  And a notebook is a visual reminder on my desk that I need to get things done.  But even if it doesn't help me, I still love it and will continue to do it.  :) 



What habits do you hold on to?

11 comments:

  1. NaNo taught me to compose a draft on my computer. Up until then, I always wrote in notebooks. Even though my handwriting is also awful. But no slower than my typing. Probably faster.

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  2. My handwriting has gotten so bad over the years. I need to type to keep up with my thoughts! Yet I will pick up a print book before an ebook if I can. I'll always love print more.

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  3. Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks. I will never give up my notebooks. My significant other is a tech geek and doesn't understand why I hold on to this ancient (his word) way of life, but it is habit, and I do need it. And love it.

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  4. Notebooks come in very handy when you want to sketch something!

    I usually do all my plotting in a small notebook, though lately I've been doing more and more on my laptop... I guess it's because I'm not out of the house as much as I used to be, so I don't need something "on the go" when I get an idea...

    Writing a whole rough draft long-hand is crazy, though!

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  5. I like the convenience of writing longhand for short stories or poetry. For example, I've often asked for scratch paper when there's a long wait at the doctor's office.I think it would be a lot more difficult to write an entire novel that way though.

    Julie

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  6. I always start in a notebook. I don't write an entire draft that way anymore, but at least the first few chapters until I know I've got a story (seat-of-the-pants writer here). And whenever I get stuck I can usually find a solution by picking up the pen and just brainstorming. I think it forces your mind to work differently by slowing it down and focusing more.

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  7. I like to start in a notebook too and I love to write notes about where my story is going. Once I get going and have fleshed things out with pen and paper I usually stick to typing (except printing my writing to edit). :)
    ~Jess

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  8. I like to keep a notebook too. If I want to make a note or check a note, I don't have to log on. I just flip it open. And I like the sound of written up pages, they make a different sound than blank pages.

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  9. I'd love to try this, but I write way too slowly to make it practical. (Plus, my penmanship is sloppy on a good day, so I'd lose a lot trying to eventually translate it to digital. :)

    I do some outlining with pen and paper, though, and it definitely changes the way my brain processes things. Also why I still print a paper copy for revisions, etc.

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  10. I wrote my first novel by hand, and it was TORTURE to transcribe it all into print. That was the end of that. Granted, I do still take almost ALL my notes on paper. I just like having a physical copy sitting next to me rather than up on the screen. Maybe it's for the visual variance.

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  11. I use notebooks/journals too. They keep all the secrets of my stories/series. Each series gets a journal where I can jot away ideas until they gel into the actual words I type.

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