Hardback notebooks give your writing more of a permanent feel and are generally more robust. Exercise books can be bent, folded or rolled up for easy transportation. A large notebook is great for keeping all of your writing neatly in one place. Smaller notebooks fit nicely into bags, but you may need more than one to complete your draft. Lets just wait a moment while the notebook addicts finish jumping for joy. You have the most amazing idea but youre cooking tea, so you tell yourself youll write it down later. Too late: the Ideas Troll has just taken great pleasure in popping your thought bubble, and its going to be at least another two weeks before the idea resurfaces. Writing down key words will jog your memory later which is why having a quirky dispenser full with post-it notes in every room of the house is such a great idea.
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A fountain pen might be more your style. Use a pencil or even a crayon, it really doesnt matter. If you enjoy writing with it and it feels comfortable, go for. It wouldnt be a bad idea to have a highlighter handy. Revisions are easier to spot at a glance if they stand out. The type of paper statistik you choose depends on your writing style. Before you start writing, its useful to have an idea of what the novel is about, the plot, characters, main events and other random ideas you havent found a place for yet. During this brainstorming process, you might find drawing pads mood or plain sheets of paper helpful. Next, consider the type of notepad youll be using. Spiral bound pages can be ripped out without greatly effecting the rest of the pad.
You dont have the right stationery? Why didnt you say so? Now that we can do something about. So, to survive this thing called writing, you will need the following items. A selection of pens in a variety of colours would be a good place to start. Yes, typing is quicker, but sometimes the creative juices flow better when youre not staring at a blank nashville screen with the cursor hovering over Twitter. Theres no rule stating what type of pen you have to use, thats down to your own personal preference. If you have ideas coming out of every orifice and speed writing is your thing, a long lasting ballpoint is probably best. Does the sight of beautiful handwriting gives you as much pleasure as the words themselves?
Hands up if youve ever thought about writing a novel but have yet to write a single word. When book it comes to putting pen to paper, the excuses flow thick and fast. I dont have time, step away from the. Who cares who dunnit? Theres a couple of hours a night right there. You wont know that for sure until you actually try. I dont have the right stationery supplies. Awww boo hoo, wait, what?
Do they still, at the Treasury, use treasury tags? Could i use one? The shades of evening make me mourn lost paper sizes; when did you last see a ream of foolscap? The late author david Hughes once sent me a few sheets, and I'm keeping them carefully, for when I have a long, thin story to write). National novel Writing Month, aka nanowrimo, has arrived. What is nanowrimo, you ask? Its an internet-based project that challenges writers all over the world to write 50,000 words in a month every year in november.
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It's easy to revise sentence by sentence, but very difficult to recognise and accept, at some late stage, that the whole structure of a book went wrong because you let your online stationery boss you about. But these days, you'll say, doesn't everybody write on screen? True, but you can still, by premature decision-making about how you store your text, set up for yourself the equivalent of the hard-spined notebook. Files are not flexible unless their maker. The good news about the computer is its endless scope for procrastinative fussing.
Is this a nice font? Shall I rename all my files? Learn some new software? At twilight, though, when the day's work is on pause, swivelling in my executive chair (variable seat height book and de luxe lumbar support i never reminisce about dear old WordStar 2000 back in the 1980s. I think instead about other trades I might have pursued, with different and privileged stationery: that pink tape, for instance, that barristers use to tie up their bundles.
But I can only shake my head and say what i know: comrades, the hard-spined notebook is death to free thought. Pocket-size or desk-size, it drives the narrative in one direction, one only, and its relentless linearity oppresses you, so you seal off your narrative options early. True, you can cross out. You can have a black page to show for your hour's work. Moleskine's website shows a page from a sartre novel that is almost all crossing-out.
But deletion implies you have gone wrong, whereas perhaps you are not going wrong, just generating material in an order the sense of which has yet to emerge. What you need is not to obliterate errors, but to swap them around a bit; then, often enough, they start to look less like errors than like the wellspring of new hope. For myself, the only way i know how to make a book is to construct it like a collage: a bit of dialogue here, a scrap of narrative, an isolated description of a common object, an elaborate running metaphor which threads between the sequences and. You must be able to loop back on yourself, and to be able to arrange the elements of which your story consists in an order that is entirely flexible. In the end you must make a decision, but why not postpone it till the last possible point? Because once you have made the commitment, what you have written starts to look right. It gains a brutal ascendancy over you.
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The magic has surely gone out of the little black tablet now that you can buy it everywhere, and in pastel pink, and even get it from Amazon if they believe your address exists. The trouble with the moleskine is that you can't easily pick it apart. This may have its advantages for glamorous itinerants, who tend to be of careless habit and do not have my access to self-assembly beech and maple-effect storage teresa solutions though, as some cabinets run on castors, i don't see what stopped them filing as they travelled. But surely the whole point of a notebook is to pull it apart, and distribute pieces among your various projects? There is a serious issue here. Perforation is vital more vital than vodka, more essential to a novel's success than a spellchecker business and an agent. I often sense the disappointment when trusting beginners ask me how to go about it, and I tell them it's all about ring binders.
modulated discourse, only to be floored by the flat supplementary: "I meant, mac or PC?" There is persistent confusion between writing and writing things. "How many words do you do per day?" people ask, as if the product unwinds in a flowing, ceaseless stream of uncriticised, unrevised narrative, and as if the difference between good and bad writers is that the good ones have no need to. Almost the opposite is true; the better you are, the more ambitious and exploratory, the more often you will go astray on the way to getting it even approximately halfway right. So while it's on its way to going right, you take comfort in buying new notebooks. Buying them in foreign cities is a good way of carrying away a souvenir. That said, le vrai moleskine and its mythology irritate. Chatwin, hemingway: has the earth ever held two greater posers?
I can sit and read the stationery catalogue for hours on end, marking its pages with the very post-it notes it has previously sold me in 12-pad packs. I often wish I could review it: it's crisp and perfectly achieved, and what it lacks in originality it makes up for in the graceful, coded compression of what it offers the dazzled reader. If you think there's little on offer but paperclips, think again: you can buy biscuits, buckets and bayonet-fitting bulbs. Sometimes I fantasise that all my furniture has been destroyed in a cataclysm, and I have to start again with only the stationery catalogue. My entire house would become an summary office, which would be an overt recognition of the existing state of affairs. Sustained by a giant jar of fairtrade instant coffee, i could spend whole days putting up Kwik-rak shelving and assembling "modular reception seating" into long, worm-shaped sofas. They don't sell beds so much for office romance but who would want to rest if you could spend the night printing out masterpieces at your ergonomic melamine workstation, and weighing them at dawn on a "solar parcel scale which takes up to 20 kilos. Writers displace their anxiety on to the tools of the trade. It's better to say that you haven't got the right pencil than to say you can't write, or to blame your computer for losing your chapter than face up to your feeling that it's better lost.
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When narratives fracture, when words fail, i take consolation from the part of my life that always works: the stationery order. The mail-order stationery people supply every need from royal blue quink to a dazzling variety of portable hard drives. Their operation is error-free, sleek and timely. In fact, it's more than timely: it's eerie. I have only to call out to my spouse: "Let's be devils and get bubble wrap and a man with a van is pulling up outside. Where i live in the remote fastness of woking the morning post comes at three, my parcels go to the right number but another street, and on one occasion, when a hapless person tried to send me a present, Amazon denied that my address existed. So this speedy stationery service looks spooky. Maybe they've implanted a chip in my brain, and soon I'll only need to think you about my order, and coloured lights will flash at their hq, and the laden vehicle will be screaming in my direction.