Natalya added a pinboard for “Writerly things” recently. It had me thinking about what writerly things do I use, need, want.
The want list varies from particular types of paper and pens and software and salaries…
I tried to simplify needs under “the basics,” but do add, clarify or edit where you will:
a writing utensil (pen, pencil, keyboard, paint) and surface (paper, envelope, word doc, wall). time. language (words, symbols, lexicon) and imagination, curiosity, perspective, idea. ego.
I use a spiffy little macbook air, microsoft word, wordpress, box, google drive, InDesign, a dictionary/thesaurus, paper, pen (sometimes pencil), a notes app, and we’ve recently acquired Scrivener. I’ve a small community of writerly folk, my inquisitive nature, education, etc. Not everything I use is portable or even accessible, including my ego. What I can always have is something to write with and something to write on and a means to keep it together (so as to not misplace it).
We talked a couple weeks ago about how Writers need to Read. Another tool of the trade is the means to record your thoughts, observations, lists, eavesdropped conversations… You need a catch-all. Skin works in a pinch, as do lip pencils or eye liner. If anyone knows of a good dictation app, let me know. But you need good writing utensils.
It has become kind of humorous to some, but Natalya really does carry some sort of notebook around with her at all times. When there a drill that requires a quick exit of the school building, is Natalya leaving without her notebook? No. Her friends gave her a composition book they bore a hole into so she could tie it to her. She carries a small sling tote to transport her notebook, pens, ipod, headphones, and reading material.
Whether it is big or small, a leather bound journal, steno, a spiral notebook, a classic composition book, moleskine, lined or unlined, loose-leaf or recycled, have it accessible. Same goes for ink, graphite, color, scented, ball point, quill, sharpie, etc. preferences.
Helpful tips for once you have the journal/writing utensil–most of which you’ll have tailor to your lifestyle:
–a means to carry it: pocket, tote, friend’s pocket or tote, ear, sleeve, sturdy waistband or bra…
–supplies of various sizing, weight or quality. Will the pen write on napkins, skin or bathrooms stalls or wherever you like to record your poetry. Is the paper too thin or ink too heavy. Is the journal sturdy enough to withstand your demands.
–consider journals with pockets and/or strong binding for tucking found objects between the pages.
–learn/practice to write legibly while also writing quickly, without looking (or seeing), or taking a bumpy road. Short-hand, self-invented or learned from a transcriptionist’s program is helpful. Not getting motion-sick is also helpful.
It is nice to be organized into keeping x here and y there, and wouldn’t it be precious if there was a uniformity to the handwriting and ink. You can transfer your findings into archival quality journals in the manner that is found most pleasing. What is most important is that x and y wends its way into or becomes your work in some fashion.
Do you keep writing utensils on hand? What do you like to use?