So we’ve already delved into the world of apps and online goodies to support your writing habit – today it’s all about offline tools.
I’m pretty retro with my approach to writing – everything hits a piece of paper before I take it to the keyboard. For me, the words flow better that way. My supplies are few, but the impact is great. These are things I rely on every day of my life.
I always like to have two notebooks on standby, so to speak. One houses my to do list, my notes, my ideas, my reminders. Currently that’s an A5, lime green, glittery, unicorn-clad treat from Paperchase. I also keep a larger, A4-sized notebook for planning and drafting every piece of content I write.
I prefer books with sturdy covers, so I can take them to the sofa and still write comfortably. I also opt for books with a spiral binding, as I often tear pages out to chuck or file. Paper quality is a biggie, as any stationery junkie will know. It’s not completely unheard of for me to wander around the shops stroking paper – I like it smooth. So far, I have to say this brand is my favourite (there’s nothing to stop you from decorating the cover like this, or this). If I’m working on multiple projects in the same notebook (which I always am), I like to use (labelled) post-its as bookmarks – they get me back to where I need to be in seconds, without distraction.
Where notebooks lead, pens will follow, and I have a nice little stash, all used for different purposes. My scribbled drafts are all written with free biros collected from events over the years. Journaling or course-related work is done with a gel pen or a black uniball – because they feel a bit like a treat.
I also have a rainbow of highlighters to hand. I like the Stabilo, because I’ve never had one dry up on me. I’m waiting for the day though, because I NEED this turquoise one! I use these to pull out action points from my messy scrawl (say I have to research a point further, or confirm a detail with a client – highlighters show me the way!) I also use highlighters to colour code my to do lists, but that’s another post for another day.
Whenever I’m working on a big project, I like to have intensive editing sessions – by hand, of course. This means printing out my neatly typed Google docs (with a cheap and cheerful printer – I don’t need anything fancy) and adding amendments with colourful biros – these ones write really smoothly and a pretty inexpensive.
In the “online tools” post, I mentioned that I don’t mind working with Dictionary.com (or Thesaurus.com) if I’m writing away from home, but seriously… I effing love my gigantic dictionary and thesaurus. When I was a student, it really hurt to spend that much, but they’ve been so, so worth it.
Hands down, the biggest, most valuable tool in my offline kit is my stash of ideas. I pretty much have ‘em coming out of every orifice. I’m planning a much more in depth article on how exactly I generate these ideas, but to get your juices flowing, check out these posts:
There are other factors that I’ve incorporated into my writing ritual, from a giant mug of coffee to my cheesy 90’s playlist, but are they the secret to my success? Probably not, they just make this shit fun.