|Left to right: Bic Round Stic ballpoint, PaperMate Write Bros. ballpoint, Pentel Fluorescent Marker, Staedtler Textsurfer Classic highlighter, Sharpie Gel highlighter, Monami Handy highlighter, green sticky notes. Back: scrap paper bound together with loose-leaf rings.|
- Scrap paper and a cheap ballpoint pen - I've found that my words flow most easily when I write by hand in cursive, with a cheap ballpoint pen (probably one I found and therefore not just cheap, but free) on a sheet of scrap paper (letter-size paper that has been used on only one side is ideal). If I was writing in a nice notebook or with a nice pen then I'd probably feel some pressure to have my writing be of relatively high quality, so that I wouldn't "waste" my good supplies. With a cheap pen and scrap paper, this pressure vanishes and I can write my first draft more freely. And using a pen encourages me to keep writing, without stopping to change every other word (as I might do with a pencil, which can be erased, or while typing on my computer - that backspace button is way too handy!). As for writing in cursive, I guess that simply triggers something in my brain that typing (or even printing) does not.
- Highlighters - I rarely used highlighters in school, but now I'm starting to find them essential for organizing information. If I'm taking notes on a topic for a blog post then I use several different coloured highlighters to break all of this information down into subtopics. I've also written before about how I used highlighters (and coloured pens) to identify and organize different sections within the outline of my novel. I could probably do much of this digitally, but doing it by hand on paper encourages me to focus on truly understanding the material, not just on cutting and pasting from one section to another. Also, it's more fun. Highlighters are just markers for adults, aren't they?
- Sticky notes - I don't use these a lot, but when I was working on my novel outline, sometimes I would think of an idea for a certain section, but I didn't have enough space to write it in. So I wrote it on a sticky note and added it in that way.
- My computer - As much as I love pen and paper, ultimately most of my writing needs to be typed up on the computer. I also do most of my editing on the computer, rather than by hand. But I'm not interested in trying out different kinds of software, or using fancy equipment. On my laptop, I stick with Microsoft Word, which I've used for ages and am very comfortable with. And in Blogger and Wordpress, I use the default post editors to write my blog posts.
And that's all! In the end, it doesn't matter how impressive your supplies are, the basic process of writing is still the same. It's about putting words down on the paper (or the screen), and sticking with them until they turn into something.
If you're a writer or blogger, what are your favourite supplies?