My early career was in the computer industry and I’ve always had computers in my working life, so when I started to write I got myself set up with a laptop and the Scrivener writing software package and did all of my drafting electronically.
However, recently I realised that I have a lot of trouble turning off my inner editor when I write on the computer. I’m always going back and fiddling with sentences. This was fine when I was writing primarily flash fiction, but it has become a bit problematic when tackling longer pieces. I can’t get me no momentum!
So recently I’ve been writing longhand on lunch breaks, while waiting for my daughter to finish her dance lesson, in the stolen moments when the kids go off to a birthday party – basically anywhere I can grab a few minutes spare. I seem to be much better at saying “oh that’s roughly correct, I’ll fix it when I type this up” when I’m writing by hand. As a result, I’m getting more first draft material down without my internal critic slowing me up. Also, the typing up process is an excellent way of giving my work a first level line edit. And for those that have read my writing, you’ll know the more editing the better!
Of course I also have a growing volume of almost indecipherable hand written semi-prose that I haven’t quite got around to typing up yet. And, every minute that goes by reduces the chance I’ll ever be able to re-interpret my own scribbling, meaning some story ideas and fragments may be lost forever. But that’s the price I pay for the impetus gaining by a moving object.
I’ve also been giving some thought to writing materials. Recently I’ve begun using a series of “whiteline” books (where the page is a very very light grey and the lines are white). Much easier on the eye. Sadly I haven’t yet found a pen I really like, so I drift from shop to shop constantly searching, never finding true pen love.
What about you? Is your preference for long hand or is it electronic-word-capture-or-bust? Have you found pen love? A particularly well formed notebook, whose pages soak up your speculative fictive ink like a sponge in a rock pool? The perfect keyboard for your iPad, allowing your fingers to fly faster than light while you sit at the local cafe? Do sponges in rock pools actually soak up anything? Tell me all about it.