A Writer’s Choice – August Writing Tips #11

Pen or Pencil

For note taking, I prefer the pencil. It won’t run out. It won’t stop working. It won’t leak and cover your hand and, more importantly, your note book in sticky ink. I like the impermanency of pencil – no note is the finished article. A Staedtler Noris School Pencil HB is my weapon of choice.

Handwrite or Type

On the whole, when writing as opposed to note taking, I favour typing. Again I appreciate the impermanence. Any deleted word is obliterated, any change is invisible. On the screen it quickly resembles a ‘real’ text. However, at the start of a manuscript in that transition from ideas and notes to writing I will draft in a notebook. For a book yet to come I wrote around a third of the novel in a notebook, writing and reading each day to a group of children I was working with.

Home or Away

Home is comfortable – your own drink in your own mug, sat on your own chair at your own desk, temperature set as you like, lighting of your choice, music at your volume or no music at all. Home has one problem, a big one. Everyone knows where to find you.
Away is escape. No one can reach you, phone off, or better yet left at home, in the coffee shop of your choice. The problem with away – you suffer the risk of looking terribly pretentious. Thankfully I live in North London, I’d have to get up pretty early to look pretentious here.


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