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My Favorite Writing Tools

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On the book signing tour, we four spent quite a lot of time talking about how we write, where we write, and what writing tools and supplies we use. So I thought just for fun, I’d share some of my favorite writing tools/supplies with y’all.

First and foremost, naturally, is my desk and my “big” computer.
This is where I do most of my freelance editing work, some of my writing, and all of my revisions.

And since there’s a hint of them in the (staged) photo above. . .
I can’t write without sticky notes! Every size, shape, color I can get my hands on. Including. . .

flip-pad . . . xlarge-sticky-note

Giant sticky notes (a.k.a. a Post-it brand flip chart). Yes, that’s a rough map of Bonneterre in the first picture!

I may have mentioned here (but don’t specifically remember) that when I’m really needing to tap into my right brain and just let the words flow without unnecessary input from the left side of my brain (such as spelling, grammar, style, and structure), I write by hand. On the book tour, the girls had a good laugh at me whenever I would pull out my spiral notebook to get some writing done. . .
I have a favorite mechanical pencil I use most of the time, since my favorite pens have a tendency to show through on the back side of the page, making it hard to read when I go back to type whatever I’ve written into the computer. Plus, I think there’s something that takes me back to childhood and that uninhibited creativity we all have as kids that comes from writing in pencil.

Speaking of my favorite pens. . .
It’s a Pentel EnerGel Liquid Ink Gel pen with a 0.7mm tip—and purple ink, naturally. I took several of these with me on the trip and always carry one or two of them with me in my purse.

Now, because I don’t do all of my writing by hand, just occasionally when I need to get myself out of writer’s block or figure out where I’m going or work on a different story idea, I do have one place/tool which is where and on what I do most of my writing . . .
Because I’m a night person and because after dark is when I’m at my most creative/least distracted, sitting in bed with the laptop computer is when I’m most prolific at writing. And the lapdesk under the computer is one of the best investments I’ve ever made (picked it up at B&N—yes, probably would have paid less than $15 for it elsewhere, but it was purple and I couldn’t resist).

So those are some of my favorite writing tools. What are yours?

  1. Patty Hall permalink
    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 5:34 pm

    I’m glad to hear that someone else writes long hand–I have to write my first draft that way or my internal editor takes over and I get nothing done. So I have notebooks around the house or in the car, filled with all my scribbles.


  2. Corie Martin permalink
    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 5:49 pm

    I too am a fan of handwriting as ideas hit. But I’ve gotta tell ya, my new favorite “note taker on the fly” is my iPhone! I can write notes down and hit a button and email them to myself. It’s the best investment I’ve made! Now if I could ever finish and publish my opus then I’ll write the thing off!


  3. Tuesday, April 14, 2009 6:32 pm

    Well, favorite tool is NOT my computer, a handed-down ME laptop (that is the Microsoft version BEFORE 2000!!!) and the keyboard and touch pad do not work. I have it rigged up in my lounger chair with a plug in keyboard and mouse. Wires, wires, everywhere. But it’s what I have and what I use. I do write long hand out in the courtyard at work during lunch. I can really get going in my spiral that way! No purple for me though…I’m a blue gel ink girl.


  4. Carol Collett permalink
    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:39 pm

    I laughed out loud at the Post Its! You always say you love the things. I have to believe you! I write longhand a lot too-brainstorm anyway. I lost my favorite pen- a Waterman fountain pen. It fell out my purse at Cool Springs last week. I also love my laptop and my AlphaSmart. I have a bad habit of getting online when I use my laptop though. One reason I love my AlphSmart-no internet.


  5. Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:39 pm

    I have a laptop desk too, mine is a dark woodgrained though (I’m a lover of dark, pretty wood) and has the pillow/bead stuff on the underside of it so it’s comfortable.

    I write some in bed, but much of it is done in my big ole’ rocking chair. It is probably my favorite place, because it reclines, and I have an ottoman with a pull-out stationary foot rest that is at an angle and perfect for keeping me at a nice comfortable spot. When I get momentarily stuck, sometimes just rocking for a minute mixes up the brain cells in my head and pushes some crud over so the good idea can be heard. (or that’s what I tell myself anyway…)

    How fun is it that we all have different quirks and settings that help us write out best!


  6. Carol Collett permalink
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 7:27 am

    I haven’t found a comfortable way to use my laptop in a semi-recumbent position. Maybe the lap desk is the answer. I do have a very small corner desk in my home office. I put it in the corner with windows. I can look outside and watch the birds at the feeders. Works pretty well for me.
    This post is so cool. I love learning how other people write-what stimulates their creativity.


  7. Wednesday, April 15, 2009 2:54 pm

    I love finding Good pens.

    I’ve told myself I’ll use the proceeds from my first mss sale to buy a new laptop, but I’m holding out till then (a laptop is the way I juggle the kids and the writing– I can take it most places they are).

    But that’s it: the laptop is my essential. As long as it has an internet connection too– I stay focussed my longest when I have my writing music.


  8. Wednesday, April 15, 2009 3:01 pm

    One of the reasons I can get more writing done on my laptop rather than my desktop is because when I’m home, my laptop isn’t connected to the internet. It is when I travel and have access to WiFi networks, but I’m on a “hard-line” cable connection at home, so only the stationary computer is hooked up. (Though about once a month, I’ll pull out the CPU, unplug the network cable and plug in the laptop to download updates for my software, if I haven’t traveled or taken the laptop somewhere that I can connect wirelessly.)

    I am, however, beginning some research on the new Netbooks—miniature laptops that only weigh two or three pounds (most have screens between 8.5 to 10 inches and keyboards that are 75–80% the size of a standard laptop keyboard). They’re small enough that they don’t even have a built-in CD/DVD drive (but one can be purchased separately—ah, marketing!). They do have built-in WiFi capability (maybe 3G, depends on the brand) and most come loaded with Windows XP and MS Works—and they go, for the most part, for less than $500, and have an advertised working battery span of 5 to 8 hours, because rather than a regular hard drive they use flash technology, which apparently doesn’t use as much power. If I’m going to replace my laptop this year, it’ll be with one of those!


  9. Patty permalink
    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:06 pm

    Hey Kaye! I just got a Netbook–Dan didn’t like me carrying that much weight around on my shoulder so he got me a little HP that weighs just over two pounds. I like it because I can throw it into my tote bag and go–no hauling around my heavy laptop anymore. And while the internet is a tad slower than my usual PC, it’s not as horrible as my last laptop(which just died last May.)

    Overall, a great addition. (But I still like my notebook and gel pen for writing my first draft. )


  10. Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:30 pm

    Kaye, my dad has a Netbook and he LOVES it. Got it for Christmas. We could try to work something out where you can see it next month, if you want. It goes to church with him and that’s what he types his notes on. It’s his new favorite toy.

    My laptop was purchased specifically for writing. I prefer to be alone when I’m writing, in a place where people and house noise won’t bother me. So my laptop in my room was the perfect solution. And in 32 days I get my ideal writing set-up back!!! I’m so excited. Our apartment is two bedrooms, so I’ll be setting my desk up in the guest room right under the window. Which has a lovely view that makes me feel like I’m back in the country again. We’re so close to everything, including Office Depot, yet far enough off the highway that it’s very quiet. It’s the ideal place for this country girl to be stuck in an apartment for a year.

    I do still write long-hand. Quite a bit. Never go anywhere without my big purple spiral notebook with college lined paper. Bought the one with the smallest margins I could find so there would be room for more words on the page. I use a two-drawer filing cabinet as the “legs” on one end of my desk. The bottom drawer is full of all of the loose-leaf notebook paper I’ve filled up in the last 12 years. There are probably millions of words in that drawer.

    Favorite pen is the Pilot Easy Touch fine point. I love a fine line of ink, and it’s light enough that I can write on both sides of the page. It’s the one I keep in my purse too. Second favorite is the Fine point Pilot G-2 gel ink.

    My new favorite purple ink pen is a Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen. Not very good for using on notebook paper, but I will use it on lots of other stuff. It has the most beautiful purple ink I have ever seen.


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