Falling in love with notebooks again


Ever since I started to use Scrivener for my writing, things have certainly moved forwards. Scrivener was the kick I needed to get my first novel finished, and I’m now past the 100,000 of my draft 0 on my next novel. For that, I have to thank this amazing tool, with it’s session word counts, and full screen writing mode. Those two aspects of the program alone have lifted my writing practice.

But, there’s one thing that Scrivener doesn’t do that well. And that’s let me write without inhibitions. No matter how many blog posts I read on how important it is to just write the first draft without editing; call it draft 0, or the exploratory draft, or the rubbish draft. To me, when I see words appearing on screen, they become a little bit special, a little bit too real. Although I don’t edit as I’m going, I sometimes find things a little hard to just let go and write what I want. Perhaps I’m scared of having to edit further down the line. My experience with my first book with all of the rewriting I ended up doing, has no doubt influenced my thinking about editing.

So, I dug out a half-filled Moleskine notebook and a black gel pen (normally a pencil user), and set to work.  At my next writing session using the Moleskine, I hit approx 800 words (in Scrivener this would have been closer to 600). I found that I could do this again and again. Something had changed. Perhaps a couple of things.

  • Seeing the words in my handwriting scrawl made them lose a little bit of signficance to me. Some of their power was lost, and that ultimately meant that I knew I could write what I wanted without the internal editor kicking off.
  • Changing from the status quo of my writing practice has probably contributed. I can now write fairly comfortably sat on the sofa whilst the kids are playing around me. Something I would never do with the laptop on my knee.
I’ve some other observations on this approach. I now have pages in my notebook that need to be transferred to Scrivener. I’m seeing this as a positive at the moment although I’m sure that won’t last. In transferring them, I’m able to do a little bit of sneaky editing as I go. More than enough to satisfy the internal editor, but not too much that it slows me down. And I suppose on those days where I really don’t feel like writing, I’ve some easy work inputting pages into Scrivener.