Saturday, 3 March 2012

When you're feeling disjointed, grab a....scratch pad?

I've been feeling a little off lately, and when I've gone to pick up something or start brainstorming I've felt like something just wasn't working. Like I was missing something, so I started rummaging through my things to see if I could figure it out.
Do I need a map? A character visual? Some music?

Then yesterday I was sitting in my local pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled and I began to stare aimlessly at the stationary section. I don't need pens, I don't need white out tape......wait a minute!
The yellow legal pad jumped out at me. For the longest time I had used these pads for my brainstorming and outlining - they're cheap and portable and worked for me the way my dry erase board works. And it turned out that was what I had been missing. Yellow legal pad, or as I call it, scratch pad.

Now, I don't think I've ever met a writer who goes about things the way that I do. To be honest, I don't think any writer does things the same as another. We pick up habits that work for us along the way, learn things from observing other writers, and take bits from books (if we read writing books) to build our tool belt.
And I admit, my habits may make things a bit more tedious but they work for me.
A teacher I had in college told me that dry erase boards work really well for outlining and brainstorming. I'd tried the card outline thing and it didn't work, so I got a massive whiteboard on sale somewhere (and its massive, its like the size of my bathroom door). The teacher did say, the bigger the better, and its been fantastic.
Also, when I was in school and working on one of my trunk novels, I would take any free time I had to write. So, I had a pile of scenes hand written that I had to transcribe onto the computer, and this turned into a habit. Now, its the way I do everything. I'm comfy that way. I only have one brand and type of pen I use, Papermate Profile in either black or blue, its advertised as the worlds smoothest pen, and its the only pen I could use when my carpal tunnel first flared up and it is now the only pen I use. I use white out tape, the sticker like thing that acts like white out. I don't have a brand or anything, they all smell chemically, but it does the job. Scribbling things out is too messy.

So, I guess what I'm getting at is that how you decide to write is not what makes you a writer, There is no specific 'way' to do things, you just do. Do what's natural and comfortable, because that's when you'll be the most successful.

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