March 14, 2008

OpenOffice Vs. Moleskin: Deathmatch

Posted in Writing tagged , , , , , at 6:13 pm by lifelessonsfromwriting

As I said in my last entry, I’ve started to use a moleskin notebook to write during my lunch break at work. Why Moleskin? Because they’re just the right size and aren’t likely to get damaged by being tossed into a backpack every day (I’ve gone through countless different notebooks that eventually ended up getting destroyed in one way or another).

Pros of notebook usage: Lets me write anyway, keeps me in the habit of writing by hand, I’m less likely to try to edit ‘on the fly’, and I can jot down ideas as they come to me. Plus, I tend to write more easily when I’m using a notebook – probably because I don’t have the internet to distract me.

Cons of notebook usage: I can’t read my own handwriting (which makes my second point above somewhat ironic), I tend to simply type out what I wrote earlier in the day from memory, rather than actually referring to my handwritten stuff, and I write far more slowly than I type.

Overall, I think I’ll be sticking with OpenOffice. It’s just easier.

This has gotten me thinking about notebooks in general, though. Almost any list of advice for fledgling writers will include something about keeping a notebook close at hand at all times, to the point where it’s become something of a cliche (for me at least; I’ve heard it dozens and dozens of times).  On the bus yesterday I was listening to an episode of this podcast, in which one of the writers mentioned how important keeping a notebook is.

I have never understood what people mean when they say things like this. I’ve tried to keep a notebook and fill it with ideas, snippets of dialogue and character traits, but none of this has ever translated into something useful. If I come up with a good idea, I’ll generally remember it. Even If I write it down the moment it pops into my head just in case, I’ll probably never look at the notebook I write it into again anyway. It’s just not something I see as very useful.

Am I really the only one who thinks like this? Or are there plenty of other writers out there who just don’t ‘get’ the notebook advice?

The last few days have been incredibly busy, and I’ve spent the morning and afternoon just relaxing. In an hour I’m going to start writing – and I probably won’t be referring to my notebook at all!