Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Do you use a software program, a specific type of notebook, a pen, a chair, some sort of tool that you feel is essential for your writing life?
Jamie Wallace: This question is a perennial favorite, and looking back through the archives, I saw that my most recent answer (way back in 2010) was a thesaurus. While that handy tome is still always close to hand, and I have a particular affection for my growing collection of uni-ball rollerball pens (they now come in an array of sophisticated, “infused” ink colors!), I’m going to pick a more conceptual kind of tool for this go-round: mind mapping.
A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of being the guest on a mind mapping podcast, The Mind Mapping Show. In the episode, I talked about how I use mind mapping in my business and personal life, my penchant for mixing it up (pen and paper vs. software), and how mind mapping helps simplify almost any process (including writing). The interview is a bit dated (I definitely need to do a new post about mind maps), but I hope you might enjoy it anyway.
I have also written about mind mapping – what it is and how to do it – here on Live to Write – Write to Live, so you can check that out as well, if you like. 🙂
Lisa J. Jackson: I collect rollerball pens and love the feel of them in my hand. With these pens, I prefer them to be heavy. But my go-to item on a consistent basis is a purple pen. Nothing fancy, just cheapy pens I’ve purchased from Staples or gotten from Planet Fitness. I used to favor blue ink, but now I can’t imagine writing in anything other than purple. Sometimes it’s amusing to think about things like this. And now I’m remembering those pens with multiple colors – blue always ran out, and red was quick to follow. Now I either use disposable pens (purple) or monogrammed pens (the rollerballs). I realize I don’t have much of a middle ground at the moment!
Wendy Thomas: I was supposed to go to that Scrivener workshop this weekend and I was all prepared to learn about it and start using it in my writing. Can’t go, instead I’m buying the Dummy book and will be reading that and watching tutorials. You can bet I’m going to be having a lunch with Julie (who is attending) to pick her brain about the software sometime after this weekend.
Other than that, as far as software goes, I’m a Microsoft Word kind-of-girl, nothing fancy, just a place where I can type and format. Oh and I have to have a keyboard, none of this tablet typing for me.
As far as supporting tools, I *live* for very nice gel pens, they can be black or blue (red when I’m correcting papers) but they have to be gel. I’ve found that ball point pens create too much drag and if I write too long with them, my hand and wrist get tired (I know, weird – I blame carpal tunnel and Lyme Disease.)
I also love my notebooks, wouldn’t go anywhere without them – favorite include Moleskin and Clairefontaine (I was even able to pick one of those up when I was in Paris, le sigh.)
Julie Hennrikus: This week I wrote about Scrivener, which in one of my favorite tools. But some of my favorites are old school. Notebooks. A nice pen. But the tool I can’t live without? Notecards. Plain old notecards. That’s where I start the plotting magic. Once I’m done with that part of my writing process (which takes a long time), I move the cards into Scrivener.