Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tools, and Using Tools

Thought I’d take a little time to give you guys a basic overview of how I write this novel on a daily basis. Especially since it’s Sunday and I usually don’t write on Sundays (this job—and it is a job—should come with a day off, even if I only do it part time).

As you might have gathered from my precise word and page counts, I do the vast majority of my writing on the computer. The couple of hours that I try to spend daily on this project are mostly spent with a laptop in front of me and an ancient copy of Microsoft Word running (to hell with the last few releases of MS Office—they’re horrible). I can do about fifty words a minute when I’m transcribing or doing something mindless, but that number drops dramatically when I’m actually trying to write creatively. Let’s say to half of that.

I also do a lot of writing longhand, using a fine-tipped black pen and a mid-sized Moleskin reporter’s pad. These are things that go with me everywhere when I’m away from a computer; specially chosen to fit into a coat or a rear pants pocket. There have been very nice pairs of pants—and even nicer jackets and coats—that have gone unpurchased on the basis that my preferred notepad can’t fit in any of the pockets easily.

I’ve done whole short stories and novellas longhand, and the majority of an unfinished novel once, and it’s…I don’t know…gratifying. There’s a real feeling of permanence that comes from putting the words directly to paper and knowing that the only way to replace them is to literally scratch them out of existence and start again. It forces you to consider every word before you put it down, and the quality of my work usually benefits from it in the first draft (though it can cause overthinking and, as a result, overwriting).

So, there’s usually a little bit of longhand that goes into most of my daily entries to A Body Up the Well. Not always, and rarely more than a short paragraph or two. These get transcribed into the Master Document whenever I sit down at the computer to do the majority of the day’s writing, and are slotted into place accordingly.

And now I’ve actually lost track of where I was going with this article and don’t have a proper ending, so let me just say: Then, at a few minutes to midnight, I take all that I did, save it, and hop on here to bitch about how I’m not getting enough done or I don’t like what I wrote or I don’t like my haircut. Or, you know, whatever thing happens to be my problem on a given day.

Good night, folks. We’ll be back with actual progress again tomorrow.



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