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Monday, March 21, 2011

Writing Tools Evolve

On a writer's list I belong to, we have been sharing stories about the things we used when we first started writing. The thread evolved into the subject heading of "Geezer Stories" as it turned out many of us started writing longhand and then typing manuscripts on old manual typewriters. My first one was a 1940's vintage Royal, and I still have it displayed in my office. (I wrote about that on my first post here on the blog)  I was a terrible typist so it took forever to type even a short story, let along 3 or 4 hundred pages of a book.

I soon found a typist who was reasonably priced.

From there, I graduated to a small PC and a gigantic printer that weighed about 30 pounds and was about 4 feet long. It used the continuous roll computer paper and printed about a page every ten minutes. It took all day to print out a book - but, hey, I didn't have to type it or pay someone to type it and I could get my kids to help me separate the pages.

Now I have a powerful PC and two printers, neither of which weigh more than 10 pounds, and I also have a eeePC Notebook, so I am truly into the latest technology. Even so, I still like to have various notebooks on hand. I have several  in use - maybe because I have been a journalist for so long. No self-respecting newspaperwoman is caught without one.

I have one notebook that goes with me to interviews. Yes, I still do it the old-fashioned way. It is a small, Steno-type notebook that is easy to flip open and take notes during the interview. I tend to keep those notebooks. I don't know why, but I think it was a habit that started because most of us who worked at a newspaper hung on to them in case anyone ever questioned the facts of a story we wrote.

I have another notebook on my desk that I use to jot notes about things to do or whatever needs jotting. It is small, about 4 by 7 and fits nicely beside my monitor.

I have another big notebook with five sections that has notes for each of the major projects I am working on. It also has pockets where I stash newspaper clippings I'm using for research and anything else that I find interesting. People keep telling me I can do all this with computer programs that organize all your stuff, but I like my system. Not only is it a routine that I am comfortable with, there is something about putting words on paper that makes me feel so much like a writer. I don't get that same feeling when words appear on my monitor screen.

What about you? What tools do you have to write with? Have you embraced the technology that helps keep you organized?

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