Writing is quite a solitary experience. Even when you’re writing in a library or crowded coffee shop you’re not exactly inviting people to sit down and chat. You don’t want to be interrupted, torn from your story and required to make conversation; all you want to do is explore that really important plot development you’ve just thought up. The folk on your wavelength give you a wide berth, appreciating your need to be alone. And you’re grateful for the solitude.
So why is it that after a long day with only the notebook or keyboard for company, you feel exhausted, intellectually drained, fit only for an evening vegetating in front of the television? Continue reading →
Prompted by a magazine article about clearing out one’s kitchen cupboards, I decided to conduct a similar inventory on my writing notes, wherever they were lurking. Not having a very reliable memory these days, I jot down ideas and material for my second novel anywhere I happen to be, and that means using anything at my disposal to record my bon mots.
As well as the more obvious notebooks by the bedside, in the living room and in various handbags, I have collections of notes in ‘bits and pieces’ documents on my PC and snippets recorded on my iPhone. But I also scribble handwritten notes and leave them in all manner of strange locations. Here’s where I’ve found little missives so far:
When I first started writing seriously I wrote longhand, with my special Mont Blanc rollerball, on pads of unlined A4 paper. I transferred the completed pages onto computer, using this process as my first edit. I found it difficult to write directly onto the computer; it was as if the keyboard created a barrier to my imagination. But after I’d finished this copying out in best I would be deep into the story and I’d often carry on typing without a problem. Gradually I dispensed with the paper and pen.
Computers have their good points: I can still remember the rapture I felt when I discovered the synonym facility (I’m easily pleased). At my age I’m often at a loss for the precise, apposite word and stopping to look it up in the Thesaurus breaks my concentration. Imagine having this resource quite literally at my finger tips!
However, it isn’t foolproof and sometimes it doesn’t deliver quite what I want. In these instances, I use the first word that presents itself, highlight it in a different colour and move on. The colour serves as a reminder, I don’t lose my flow, and the word will come, eventually.
P.S. I carry a notebook with me at all times, so the expensive biro is still pressed into service.
After the hurly-burly of the NaNo challenge, the deep, deep peace of writing for pleasure beckons once again. Whether it’s editing something already written or beginning an entirely new piece of work, there’s nothing quite like taking up a pen or sitting at a keyboard and losing oneself in the creative process.