I’ve been meaning to write this post for the longest time. Alas! Life intervened. But here it is. And I want to hear your writing method opinions at the end of this post!
So, methods of writing. People write in a notebook, people write on the computer, people write on word processors . . . people even write on clay tablets. Or, did I miss a few centuries there? What, you don’t write on clay tablets anymore?
I have just two basic methods of writing and two of editing. So here goes.
WRITING – 1. WORD PROCESSOR
No, not a typewriter. Not the ancient computers. Just a simple, easy-to-use system called the Neo 2 Alphasmart.
The Alphasmart is really basic, but it has most of the critical features, like a Thesaurus and spell check and word count. I’ve owned two. The second failed on me early on, deleting roughly fifty-thousand words. That stung. The first Neo is the Neo I still have. Works every time. Super reliable. Easy to type on. WAY easier than our computer keyboard. Not as easy as a laptop keyboard.
Another feature of the Neo 2 Alphasmart is ease of downloading. Plug it in, press send. Twenty-five pages take about forty, forty-five minutes to download to the computer, but you don’t have to touch it the entire time. The Neo has the storage space for eight files, with each one containing roughly twenty-five pages, or eight to nine thousand words.
And it’s portable. Really portable. That’s nice, too.
WRITING – 2. NOTEBOOK AND PEN
Please note, this is only for outlining. I never write a scene or a chapter or a book in a notebook. That said, I seldom type an outline. A notebook is such a beloved addition to a writing desk, though, isn’t it? What’s a writer without a notebook?
(A notebook-less writer, of course!)
Anyway, I’ve found some simple lined pages to be invaluable in the outlining process. You can cross out, tear it out, burn it (don’t recommend that), and oftentimes get a really solid foundation for your story.
Then there’s the pen. Not just any pen will do. It must be the perfect fit, with perfect comfortability. Ya know what I’m sayin’? Show of hands for all the planners in the audience who know exactly what I’m talking about? ‘Cause I could go on about the perfect writing space, too.
EDITING – 1. COMPUTER
I don’t like to type much on the computer, given the scientific basis for it impeding good health. But when it comes to editing and revising, if I’m not actually rewriting, and I am just working on new paragraphs, fixing errors, etc., then I like the computer screen. It is, of course, several times bigger than the Neo’s screen, which is my one complaint about the Neo. But you do get used to that.
EDITING – 2. HARDCOPY
There’s nothing better for editing than picking up that book and its beloved pages, and then picking up your red pen, and then . . . death to grammatical errors and embarrassing mistakes.
This is a valuable tool in the preliminary editing. You’re able to hold the book in your hands, and thus see it in a whole different light. This helps immensely with proofreading as well. Don’t overestimate what you can pick out on a computer screen.
That’s it. Methods of writing and editing. Super basic options here, but I know everyone has a different approach that works best for them. So what is yours? What do you find most helpful when fashioning your manuscript?