Monday, September 17, 2012

My Perfect Writing Tools

From Kate's Writing Crate...

          When I discovered Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, she made becoming a writer seem possible--a lifeline when I didn't know any writers and no one I knew really supported my dream to become a writer.
          Among all of her excellent advice for writing and creativity, Goldberg suggests using inexpensive notebooks so you feel "you have permission to write the worst junk in the world" in them using pens that allow you "to feel the connection and texture of the pen on paper." Many years later, I still use spiral notebooks that I "can fill quickly and afford another" using "fast-writing pens because your thoughts are so much faster than your hand".
          These simple directives from Goldberg freed me from my fear of the blank page. I now had permission to write junk just as long as I wrote enough to fill a notebook every month. As it turned out, the more I wrote the less junk was in my notebooks.
          I had a goal I could achieve, but I had to go on a quest to find the "perfect" pen and notebook to make it happen.
           My perfect pen turns out to be a Pilot V Ball with the tinted barrel so you can see the ink sloshing around. I write in blue or black ink with the fine nib which moves quickly across the page. I edit with the red pen with an extra fine nib.
          I LOVE them! However, in the last year I have uncapped a couple of new pens from the boxes of 12 I bought only to have black ink explode all over my hands and anything else nearby. After years without any problems, not sure why this is happening. It has not dampened my enthusiasm. I only buy the blue and red pens now and carefully open the black pens I already bought over the sink.
           After trying out many brands, I found the 80 Sheet College Ruled Composition Book #730000 made by Fay Paper Products, sold in six solid colors, to be the notebook for me. When the chain drugstore where I bought them stopped carrying them, I called the company directly, told them my story, and they let me buy two cases. I was now a writer for the long haul!
           My supply is dwindling--only enough for another year or so, but I like to be prepared--so I want to buy another case. To my dismay/horror, the company has gone out of business. (I'm sorry for all the employees. Thank you for your excellent work.)
           I love these notebooks. I find them comforting, familiar, and sturdy. Now I have to go on another quest to find the next best thing.
           Amazing how such simple tools can mean so much. And I have learned my lesson: I have bought enough pens to last me for years; I request them as gifts; and I am spreading the word about them in hopes they become so popular they won't be discontinued.

What are your favorite writing tools?

Does reading Writing Down the Bones inspire you?


  1. I haven't done a lot of writing since college but might just invest in a few spiral notebooks to do a little journaling, list making, etc during the down times of my days.

  2. I have more spiral notebooks than I know what to do with, and Cheryl can attest to that! Whenever I go to Staples or some other similar store, I always end up in the notebook section, trying to convince myself that I don't need more notebooks, even if they're four for a dollar (who am I that price, I'd buy the entire stock of notebooks!!). Binders, too. I've got quite a few binders filled with notebook paper. I love those especially because I can write down some ideas on a sheet of paper and come back to it later, and when I go to type the ideas into my laptop for editing, I can remove the papers I need, type them up, and put them back into the binder without having loose pieces of paper floating around.