7 Days of Scribbling

Small Brick of Writing NotebooksI really did intend, when writing my last blog post, to keep using my computer for writing purposes right up until I started my writing-in-notebooks experiment on September 1st. I figured I’d finish off the projects I’d started there, keep using the notebooks for notes, ease into the idea of doing everything longhand, you know?

Turns out, not so much. I shut off the computer after my last post and leapt into the notebook world whole hog, only turning the laptop on once in the last seven days (and that was to type up the story I’d written for a friend’s birthday, so I could post it on his Facebook wall).

And now it appears that I can hit 10 pages of handwriting a day – somewhere between 1,500 and 1,800 words, depending on the notebook and my handwriting – pretty consistently. Books are taking shape, stories are getting written, my hand is not hurting from the endless scribble. There’s something aesthetically pleasing about writing in notebooks and, well, the portability.

Oh, god, the portability.

Weekends are usually Kryptonite for me and regular writing processes. I wake up on Saturday morning wanting nothing to do with keyboards and computers, preferring to stay in bed and idle the hours away. Sunday is just like Saturday, except I’m even less inclined to work.

When I’m in that kind of mood, any distraction will do. And my house is full of neat distractions.

So, this morning, when I was tired and getting grumpy about how hard it was to write things and starting to consider how much I really didn’t want to spend the entire day in my flat, I picked up my notebooks and caught a train into the city and distracted myself by wandering around after every page or two of writing.

Four hours later I came back with my ten pages of writing done, a page of notes scribbled down about the project I’m going to kick off next, a belly full of Vietnamese take-away, and a substantially better mood (also, books. ‘Cause when you walk past a bunch of book stores…)


I took a bunch of photographs. ‘Cause you don’t notice that Brisbane has some very pretty bits, when you walk through it during the week and you’re primarily interested in dodging your fellow commuters.

Telegraph Newspaper Company

Photograph of a storm rolling in over Brisbane City

And for all that it was always possible to do that with a laptop, in practice it would never happen. The laptop was always heavy to cart around, battery power would be an issue, and it’s hard to be discrete about what you’re doing when you set up a computer in the corner of a cafe after ordering a flat white.

I’m still not sure I’m a permanent convert – I’m well aware that this burst of consistent productivity could just be the novelty – but it’s going well enough that I’m optimistic about the results.

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