Each story that I publish here is written out in longhand — a propelling pencil in a notebook to be exact. Then it is typed up over the weekend, ready to be sent out online the coming Thursday. Typing takes an average of four hours, but this depends on the length of the story [and my degree of fatigue].
The obvious question is: Why not type directly and save time?
It is a question that I have already asked myself.
Small netbooks are cheap and getting cheaper. I’m sure there must be one with a decent keyboard for a decent price. As I’m a believer in Text Editors and not Word Processors, I don’t even have a need for fancy software [read: the monolithic MS Word]. So, it is surely possible to find something cheap enough, yet powerful enough, and, all the while, small enough to allow me to type in the Métro.
My writing process has developed over time. I have tried to work on books and stories directly on the home computer [this one is a MacBook Pro, called prozilla]. And it doesn’t work. It’s not a question of tools. And yes, before you suggest one, I have tried dozens of them. It’s a question of my mental process.
Writing about 500 words a day in two batches of 250 words suits me fine. I can sit down, read back, change a word or two, expand or strike out a phrase, and this micro-editing gets me back into the story. Then I scribble away, occasionally getting a dig in the back or in the ribs when the carriage fills up, but otherwise I’m away and in the flow.
Somehow I can’t duplicate this on the screen. I also quite like having my crossings-out and additions [my pentimento], right there on the page in all their mucky glory. It allows me to backtrack and follow my previous thoughts. Sometimes when I’m typing up the text, I will in fact go back and mix and match different versions. I also leave small notes to myself. I draw a squiggle under a passage that doesn’t satisfy me, or note [sp?] for a spelling query, or [rep] if I think I’m repeating something, knowing that I can catch these when I type the story up. This allows me to get on with the writing before the train pulls up in my station and I have to get out.
I’m quite aware that I could find software that allows me all of these tics and quirks, possibly more even. But my system isn’t broke. Why learn a new one to replicate something that works for me already.
So, while the Wombat still needs a nap at weekends, I’m here, at the table, typing up my stories.
Posted: Friday, 25th September, 2009blog comments powered by Disqus