I have written stories for many years and most of those stories were never intended to be read by anyone other than me. I wrote not with the intention of creating a novel but more percisely to exercise my mind and think differently if even for only a short while. Since the finished product was of no consequence back in the day, my organizational habits were of very little consequence. Saying that I had any organizational habits is being extremely generous as many a character and short story were scrawled on the back of a sheet of paper or the last page of a notebook. I wrote this way all through high school and college simply discarding them later. In truth, I don’t know if I ever knowingly discarded the scribbled papers they just got sucked up into the tornado that was my room.
A few years ago, I dug a little further into my pocket and purchased my first moleskine notebook. An interesting thing happened. When those stories went into a notebook instead of on the back of a cereal box. I started keeping them. It was a whole new experience to get to read some of those thoughts that had to be written down and story excerpts that hit me in the middle of the night.
At this point I have filled up many of those little notebooks and my girls have started buying me a larger leather journal each year for Father’s Day. I write in those books from the very first page to the edge of the very last page or back cover. Now that some of the ideas were hanging around for a while they started evolving into more complete stories.
As with all other things, my writing process has matured. It is only recently that I have started doing a larger percentage of my writing on the laptop. I probably do 85-90% of my writing in electronic form now. It is neat and organized and not at all what it originally did for me.While my MacBook is super efficient it just doesn’t have the same emotional appeal of frantically scrawling a fresh idea into a notebook dug out of my back pocket.
My compromise for that is to primarily go to the MacBook and use a great program called Scrivener that is great for organizing, spell checking, creating outlines and character sketches. I also still keep a notebook and pen handy for when inspiration strikes. It is interesting that even though I have had far more success, at least in terms of completing stories, using the MacBook I don’t think I will ever get past the nostalgic feel of pen to paper.
Do you have a preferred style of writing? If so, do you do it exclusively?