Today I want to talk about my writing preferences. Self-centred, perhaps, but it’s a topic that I’d like to talk about today while I still think it’s a good idea and before I delve into anything else.
What do I mean by “writing preferences”? Well, I mean how I write and what I prefer to use to write, and why. Of course, everyone is different and prefers their own things; everyone has their own ways and methods. I personally quite enjoy reading the preferences of others; sometimes I learn something new that I can add to my own lists, or it gives me an insight into the mind of another writer. It’s actually because of a post like this that I discovered the Lamy fountain pens. I now own two of them and they’re lovely, and very durable. It’s also how I discovered a few of the writing apps I have on my iPad.
I handwrite and I type, though nowadays I handwrite a lot more than I type. That’s because I seem to find that the words flow better from my mind, through the pen and onto the paper than through my mind, through my fingertips and into a Word document or onto a screen. It used to be very much the other way around but then… I started writing during my study periods in college and then I went to university and started writing during my lectures. Yes, I know, not the best idea, but I’m the sort of person who, if I don’t write down the idea as soon as I get it, I’m going to forget it three seconds later. Then sometimes, instead of just writing down the idea, I would start/end up writing the piece instead. Oops.
Okay then. I prefer to handwrite at the moment. I’m not going to question why, I’m just going to get on with it. To handwrite, I like to use A5, lined notebooks. Most lined notebooks have white paper, so that’s generally what I use, but I really will write on whatever colour I can get my hands on; providing I have a pen that shows up clearly enough. I don’t normally write on plain paper, because I think that my handwriting goes all over the place without lines. I think it does anyway; I haven’t written on plain paper for a little while so I don’t really know. I do have a couple of unlined notebooks kicking around, which I definitely plan on getting to grips with. I do prefer hard backed notebooks, but I have, can and will use/d soft cover ones. As long as I have a sturdy surface to work on! Currently, I prefer thinner notebooks, but that’s because I get through them faster so I can move onto the next one. In general, if the notebook is lined, has a nice cover and isn’t too expensive, then I’ll buy it if I like it – thick or thin, hard covered or soft covered. Oh, I nearly forgot; I do prefer a spiral binding, but I do like a Coptic binding too. Regular binding is good but sometimes the notebook doesn’t lie flat enough for my liking. I will still use a regular bound book though; but a spiral bound notebook is my first choice. I may sound picky but I’m really not; as I said earlier, if I like it and I think the price is right, I’ll probably buy it.
So that’s the paper side of things! Next; writing instruments. At the moment, I’m just writing with whatever I can get my hands on because I have so many pens that I need to use up. (That’s what happens when you love stationary as much as I do.) Right, yes so… Pens! I love fountain pens, especially with all the different coloured ink you can get nowadays. I also love gel pens, even scented ones. Yes, I am still a bit of a child; but I think writing is an art and thus deserves to look good too. Rollerballs are good too, but not biros. I find biros too scratchy and I’d prefer not to write in pencil, but I think I’d take a pencil over a biro. I do like having a visible ink level on any pen I use. There’s something incredibly satisfying seeing how many pages you’ve burnt through and seeing how much ink you’ve used. (I draw little indicator marks on the ink part of the pen for this very reason.) For pens though, as long as the ink flows smoothly and consistently, it doesn’t “bleed” or “feather” on the paper I use and I can read it (meaning, it’s not a bright colour like yellow or orange if I’m using white paper) then I’ll probably use it. I do prefer a medium point/nib. I’m not too fond of mega fine ones; like biros I find mega fine points scratchy to write with. Although, I am using a “fine” pen (a Pilot Hi-Tecpoint VR7 in red) at the moment when I’m writing fiction and it’s not too bad. It feels good, writes smoothly and flows well. Thumbs up for that then.
There we go. That’s notebooks and pens sorted. Now onto the electronic stuff.
On my iPad, I use “My Writing Nook” then email it to myself and copy and paste it into Word to check for spelling errors and so forth. In Word itself; I have it set so I can see about half the page or I have it set to “page width.” I use a size 11 font and either Tahoma or Calibri. I, of course, keep all colour settings the same (white background, black text) and I don’t write with line spacing because it really annoys me for some reason. If something requires line spacing, I do that after the whole document is finished. And I only save essays in a format that’s line spaced, never fiction. There isn’t much to say about the technological preferences really. I’d rather use a keyboard than a touch screen, but, whatever’s handy. (Most of my dissertation was actually written on my iPad.) I love the sound of my keyboard though; it makes a delightful little clicky-clacky noise. I like it anyway; it makes me feel all writerly.
What am I supposed to be talking about now? Oh yes; how I write. (No smart ass comments about just putting pen to paper or my fingers on the keyboard and just getting on with it, please.) I love using a desk. Or a table. Or, in general, a nice, sturdy surface. I find it much easier to write on a hard surface than using my lap. I also like background noise; whether that noise is music or a DVD. I will however plug my earphones in if someone is trying to do something in the same room as me (unless they’re writing as well.) I can’t concentrate if there’s two sources of noise. Oh, and a comfy chair with a decent back helps too. The best thing about all this is that is can be applied to both when I handwrite and when I type. Bonus!
I used to like to drink regularly when writing (mostly tea and hot chocolate) but now I don’t often bother, unless it’s really hot, and then I drink juice like a boss. I do sometimes like something I can chew on when I stop writing to have a think, and if nothing suitable is around then I’ll chew on pen lids or my thumb. (Until the other half sees me chewing on the latter and tells me off, that is.)
So, as far as I can tell, there’s one more set of preferences left to write about, and those concern writing itself. Let’s see. I prefer writing fiction. I believe the only non-fiction I write is this blog, my own personal blog as and when I remember and my journal. So I certainly write more fiction than I do non-fiction. I find fiction easier to write too; at least, most of the time. As mentioned a couple of times in my Introduction Post, I currently write (really bad) fan-fiction, and I write that for me. I do have the occasional “original” idea, but I’m never in love with them enough to write them fully, so I just write down the idea for later on. I like writing using a list of themes to write shorter pieces. I think with a little planning I could probably write a longer, novel-like piece but it really doesn’t appeal to me right now so I’m not going to. Not at the moment anyway. Oh, and when I’m handwriting, I always do a word count. Once a NaNoer, always a NaNoer I guess!
To quote Lil: “What Would Danni Do? – Add more words for the word count win!” (Something I/we’d abide by for uni essays too actually. Haha.)
I can’t think of anything else to cover today, so I guess that’s it! Enjoy the rest of the blogs and I’ll see you next week!
Word count: 1517 words.