A Writer and Her Tools

Most writers have favorite tools and processes they use. I’ve been reviewing my preferences and considering how they affect my writing process. I thought writing a post about the topic might give me more clarity and perhaps suggest places where I can change or improve my workflow.

When I first started writing on a computer, I found I spent too much time editing and deleting the few paragraphs I’d written. My inner critic kept pointing out my mistakes, and I couldn’t get any traction on a new project.

I learned several respected writers start their first drafts in notebooks. Although I’m left-handed and have terrible handwriting, I tried it. Writing by hand turned off my inner critic, and I got a lot more written than I typically did when using a computer.

However, transcribing my rough draft onto the computer was a chore. My handwriting is so poor that I often couldn’t decipher my own notes. Transcribing handwritten pages gave me opportunities to edit and tweak my first draft, but I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what the hell I’d written.

When I learned a lot of those handwritten-first-draft authors used fountain pens. Despite being told lefties cannot and should not use fountain pens, I gave the idea a try.

After a LOT of trial and error (namely, pen and ink purchases that didn’t work out), I found my sweet spot. I often use one of the Edison production pens. I have two of their Glenmont models, one Beaumont, and several of their Nouveau Premiere pens (available only at Goulet Pens).

Those pens are light enough for me to write for several hours without my hand cramping. (I encountered that problem with Waterman, Omas, and Visconti). I pair those pens with Pilot Iroshizuku inks, which dry fast enough to prevent me from smearing my writing. Sometimes I’ll use a Diamine ink, but the colors I prefer often dry out too fast in my Edison pens.

Plenty of writers swear by Microsoft Word, Scrivener, Pages, Ulysses, and Nisus Writer Pro. I have access to those five programs, but I use MS Word or Scrivener most often. Scrivener is handy when I’m writing a longer piece needing character sketches and extensive research files saved. But it’s often easier to open a new Word doc and just start typing.

So, fellow wordsmiths, what are your favorite tools? What software, notebook, or pen and ink are indispensable for you? Please let me know. I’m always interested in hearing about another way to approach our craft.

(Photo by Dustin Lee on Unsplash)

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