Monday, October 11, 2010

Shovels and Pens, and Implements of Destruction

I'm going to try some different sleeping arrangements tonight. I figure I'll either get some sleep or get some writing done. We'll see. (It partly depends on the perversity of my junior cat....)

This will require shutting down the computer for the night and writing on a notepad, though. Which is why I'm posting before my writing session, rather than after.

Speaking of notepads....

One way to break out of a rut is to change your writing implements. Try a new routine. Swap from keyboard to pen to pencil, or from steno pad to a spiffy new schoolbook. Or even use different software on your computer. I find that I do rough work more quickly and better when I write in a plain text document. It's like the electronic equivalent of scribbling on a napkin. (Except you can back it up. And copy and paste.)

Damon Knight told me about a writer (I think it was himself, but it was a long time ago he told me this) who used to write rough drafts on blue paper. That way he couldn't be expected to be perfect because it couldn't possibly be a final draft.

My favorite implements, outside of my computer, are a mechanical pencil and a steno pad. The pad is small enough to carry around, but big enough to really write on. The pencil always has a nice sharp tip, and is erasable.

The sharp tip, though, is the most important thing. I often start my warm up with what I call "freewriting" - that is just blathering out anything continuously on paper and then throwing the paper away. So I won't waste paper, I've learned to write in very very very tiny print - something like five lines to a rule on ordinary notebook paper. Maybe two point type? I can do this with a fine point mechanical pencil. It also helps that it doesn't have to be legible, since I'm throwing it away.

Think about your writing routines, locations and implements next time you need to break out. You might find just the thing you need.

No comments: