What do you use to write? Pen and paper? Typewriter? Computer? Individual writers develop their individual preferences for writing tools. And then there is caring for those tools so that they remain in optimal condition. During the last few weeks, I’ve been dealing with just this chore. Of course, anything that takes me away from creating drives me a little crazy and makes me cranky. But I’d really be upset if any of my tools broke down and I had to scramble to get them repaired.
First, I do use pen and paper for certain projects. For example, I write my journal in paper notebooks using pens. In the past I’ve used different color ink to reflect mood or subject matter. I’m starting to move away from that to a certain extent. My preferred ink colors are blue, black, purple and green. It’s astonishing to me just how many different colors are available and the different shades of each. I used to use fountain pens (and I still love them), but I apparently broke the two I had, leaving me with lots of ink cartridges I can’t use. Now I prefer just the regular stick ballpoint pen or Rolling Writer gel pens or Flairs. These writing tools are about as low maintenance as a writer could want.
At the moment I’m also using pen to edit and revise the first draft of Perceval’s Shadow before I work on a Word file on my computer. I really prefer to do this early revision work with pen on paper to force myself to slow my thinking. I have also used pen and paper to create the first draft of screenplays in the past. It’s been years since I’ve written a screenplay but I suspect I’d return to that method if I needed to write one.
Second, I own an IBM Selectric III typewriter with several font elements. Unfortunately, the carriage has frozen so I can no longer use it. At one time, this typewriter was all I had to produce final drafts of my stories, essays, and novels. I wrote ad copy on it. This typewriter has served me well. I wish I could find someone to give it to who’d want to fix it up and use it. I have tried to sell it to typewriter repair shops and they have a glut of both Selectric IIs and IIIs so don’t want mine. I also have ribbon, self-correcting tape, and those font elements. Let me know if you might be interested in taking it off my hands!
Third, my laptop computer. This tool has preoccupied me the last few weeks. I periodically do a deep virus/malware/spyware scan and I just completed one last weekend. I need to also use my WinZip utilities suite to clean up the hard drive and make certain I have the necessary up-to-date drivers. That takes considerable time so I need to find that time soon. I need to back-up my data as well. And then I also need to start a serious “housecleaning” of my files, deleting old files I don’t use or uninstalling programs I don’t use.
What does all this have to do with writing? Well if my computer isn’t clean and in the best operating condition, it will impact its performance when I’m using it to write my novels, short stories, essays, and blog posts. I also use it, of course, to access the internet to market and promote my writing, network, communicate, and shop. I’ve committed to taking as best care as I can of my laptop because I don’t have any other computers for back-up – no tablets, no smartphones. So, while I’m working with my old fashioned pen to revise the first draft of Perceval’s Shadow, I can give my laptop a really big pampering.
What are your writing tools? How do you take care of them?