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Posts Tagged ‘spiral notebook’

I write in a spiral notebook. It’s my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. It feeds my creativity and my terror all at once.

When I’m writing I’m ‘in the zone’ and I don’t think about anything but the next step or even the next curve of an ‘a’. I just let the ideas flow and the physical act of writing does wonders to my overactive brain, forcing it to slow down and focus on those few relevant moments in the story.

But when I’m not writing, or thinking about the next part of the story, I’m thinking one thing…

What if I lose it?

That fear grows in proportion with the number of days since I last typed up my pages. And right now, that’s a lot of growing.

I really dislike the typing stage. It takes me a solid week to type up one month of work. I can type a good 25-30 pages a day and the sense of progress is great, especially near the end of that week.

But so is the pain. And the boredom.

I know, I know – stop with the notebook already, right?

Eh….

Maybe one day I will. But there are benefits to the notebook as well – the creativity it feeds, and so much more. The notebook is the Rough Draft. When I type it up I then have a respectable First Draft. Typing is my first stage of editing. I fix little mistakes, and big ones too. I realize where areas need to be stronger. I start to plan out what needs to be fixed. I even put little red-text notes, with underlining and parentheses, that say FIX THIS HERE!

Right now I have 80 pages in my notebook and am just beginning Chapter 29 .(Yes, I have 3-5 page chapters – not James Patterson level but still kind of pace-y). Only the prologue and chapter one exist in the computer and I’m actually starting to forget some of the earlier information. (Did we already discover that evidence or not?!) Once typed up this will amount to about 100 pages, based on the way it converts due partially to what I end up adding as I type.

I know I’m at the point I need to type. I’m beyond it really.

But I resist.

Last night I even skimmed through most of the pages, reading an item here and there, to figure out my question about a particular piece of evidence. I got my answer and I kept writing.

My current goal is to be more than halfway finished writing the second book by the end of the month. I’m completely on track to hit that and if I’m smart I should then pause and type for a week. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I’d really like to finish the first draft entirely by the end of September and typing, though vital, feels like treading water (in mud) instead of swimming powerfully toward my goal.

If you see me out with a big purse with a distinct notebook shape and I have a very tight hand on it… I still haven’t started typing yet.

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I adore writing. I love telling stories. I love building the plot. I love the rush to jot down an idea on the closest piece of paper I can find so I don’t forget it.

I also love writing – the kind people don’t do anymore.

C.B. Wentworth recently wrote a great post called Muse Juice about the writing process and writing ‘musts’. (Great read, and great blog.)

My process is almost the antitheses of that list.

All I need is a pen and a spiral notebook. Rarely, I need a few post-it notes/note cards for the random thoughts.

That’s it.

I do insist on utter quietness. On occasion I have been known to ignore my family, sitting in the same room with me (even the boisterous two-year old) to write a quick scene that can’t wait. But, for most of my work I am in quietness on the couch, or on my bed, enjoying the dual acts of writing. Pen on paper, forming each word, as the thoughts and hand thread together to create the action. I have made so many surprising changes to what I thought would happen in a scene simply by focusing entirely on the moment – that scene, that word, that character – and letting the action shape as I go.

I cannot get that at the computer. I can see what’s wrong, what needs to be fixed, or how to make quick improvements. But the inventiveness and the story itself is irretrievably tied with the physical act of writing for me. They cannot be separated and I don’t think I want them to be separated. It is one of the best parts of the process.

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