Quick survey: Do you write with a fountain pen, a biro, a typewriter or directly into a computer? Or do you use slate and slate pencil, stone and chisel, paint and papyrus, pencil and paper?
Moleskine notebooks or 50p exercise books from Asda?
And which do you think is best?
Some people think that the physical act of writing onto paper improves the quality of their prose. Others find that the words flow so fast (when they are in the creative zone) that touch-typing is the only way to get them down. One writer I know carries a cheap exercise book around – the advantage is that it rolls up small, can fit into a jacket pocket, and so he can take it with him anywhere and write whenever he has inspiration or the time. Someone else uses those little index cards, in their pocket or bag, to jot things down. I’ve had lots of brilliant lines or superb ideas that have been lost for want of something to write them down. Memory just isn’t that reliable! Especially when you wake at 3am, think of something, and are sure you’ll remember it in the morning.
As part of a personal drive to reduce my use of plastic, I’ve reverted to a fountain pen – sometimes. Of course, I still use plastic (those little torpedo-shaped refills) but now I feel virtuous as well as inspired when I write, even if it’s drivel.
Awe-inspiring to think that the greats; Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Richardson, Trollop; wrote directly onto paper and if they had to change something, everything had to be re-written by hand. And then copied out ‘fair’ before posting to a publisher.
One of the saddest writing story I know is that of Jilly Cooper whose hand-written (presumably, or typed) manuscript for ‘Riders’ was left on a bus and lost. It was ten years before she could bear to start rewriting it. No backups to Google Drive or Dropbox in those days.