A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What If Every Book Has Its Own Mojo?

Here are only a few of the tools that great writers swear by:
--Legal pads
--Stenographer's notebooks
--Moleskine notebooks
--Spiral schoolboy notebooks
--Index cards

Now let's proceed to the writing itself:
--Long hand
--Dictation software

And let's consider the eternal questions:
--Spontaneous creative combustion
--Number of drafts

As writers we may spend years fine-tuning the method that we say as ours--without meeting anyone who works in the same way. Though I put a lot of mileage on my laptop in the long course of writing a novel, I can't imagine not drafting it out first by hand. With what? Why, a mechanical pencil filled with thick number 7 lead.

I used legal pads for many years, gravitating to index cards because I frequently wrote on the run and liked the notion of having much of my book in my pocket. I also liked the ease of shifting pages or chapters around. Still, Moleskine notebooks came to exert a potent appeal: pocket-sized but with a solidness that strengthens my sense of a real book in the works.

So, I'm a Moleskine man for now. But I find myself starting to wonder if certain new books may call for new methods, new tools. One day I may hear the call to draft a new book on a tablet...or even use dictation software. And I've committed to heeding the call if and when I hear it.

Oh, I'll still love my pencils and Moleskines. And there'll always be a soft spot in my heart for index cards. But new footwork may lead to new journeys. And isn't that, after all, what art is all about?

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