For Writers: Choose Your (Writing) Weapon
(So I meant to post a non-fiction thing about writing every Wednesday, but I wasn't feeling well this week so I'm posting it on a Sunday. So yeah, this is late. Apologies. I'll try to get next week's post up on time.)

I usually do my first drafts on my iPod. 

It's a trick, you see. I'm an online serial fiction author, and that means my stuff is first read mostly on reading apps like Wattpad and Radish. Writing on a mobile device allows me to immediately see what my words look like on a mobile device. It forces me to adapt to the medium — I keep my paragraphs short, my sentences snappy. Which has worked quite well for me, I think. 

However, I occasionally stray from my process. I get bored, and when that happen I either need a change of scenery or a change of... well, just a change, really. So I take out a notebook and a pen and write my draft long hand. 

And I don't just use any pen, either. I use fountain pens. I started using them about a decade ago and never looked back. I do use gel pens, but only if they glitter and only for marking up my bullet journal or writing titles and headlines in my writing notebooks. For everything else, I use fountain pens. Even to do my grocery lists. 

Mostly I like the faint scratching sound the nib makes when it glides over the paper. And that I have to hold it a certain way for the ink to flow smoothly. I read somewhere that a fountain pen nib (the pointy metal tip that touches the paper) bends and adapts to your writing style, and therefore you shouldn't let anyone else use your pens. I loved that! I loved knowing that I somehow imprint myself on my pens everytime I write. I don't even mind getting ink on my fingers when I write (it happens sometimes) because it's a very writerly look and kinda romantic. There's a scene in the Wynona Rider adaptation of "Little Women" when Prof. Baer holds up Jo's hand and says something like, "I see you're a writer." Because her fingers were stained with ink! I thought that was romantic. Seriously, I generally avoid romanticizing the art-slash-craft of writing, but this was one of the few times I do. 

Writing with a device, like a phone or laptop, is extremely efficient. It works for me. Except when it doesn't. Except when I want a more... tactile experience. One that makes scratch sounds and leaves ink stains on my fingers. One that requires a tool (fountain pen) I need to clean regularly, and refill, instead of just throwing out and replaced when it runs out of ink. 

What about you? What's your instrument of choice?

More important, does it matter? I mean, it does to me. I mean, if all the phones and ink in the world disappear, I'll work with a pencil. But I won't be happy. I think there are probably authors out there who don't care. They'll work with anything — a phone, a laptop, a Mongol no. 2. Good for them, seriously. But I like my process. I like my tools. Once in a while I might experiment. But only if it's fun. Because while writing is a job, I still need it to be fun. 

My point is (yes, I had one) is that if you're feeling uninspired and just not having fun, maybe switch it up a bit? If you use your laptop to write, maybe try a pen or pencil and a nice notebook with pretty pages. Or try audio! Record yourself narrating your story. I've never done it, but some authors have found this works for them, so it might work for you. (Of course, you'll have to transcribe it on your computer afterwards so you can edit your words and submit them to your editor. But then I have to encode my pen-scribed pages too. Not an easy task — my penmanship is sh*t.)

So... happy experimenting! Finding the tools and processes that work for you is large part of the author journey. If there's an unusual kind of method you use, let me know in a comment.

Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

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