The modern writer has a choice: paper or PC?
Of course, PC is the most practical – but does it, I wonder, help or hinder the creative process?
Wherever I go, in my handbag I keep a small notebook, so that when an idea walks into my mind I can jot it down quickly, in case I lose it. I suppose I could make notes on my mobile phone, but that doesn’t feel the same at all.
Then, later, when I am researching and mapping out a book, I scribble notes – on scraps of paper, in beautiful notebooks.
Finally, when I am writing up the book, I will use the laptop. But if I’m struggling with writer’s block, a simple solution I’ve found is to switch once more to paper, which usually gets the creative juices flowing again.
Writing, I think, is inspired by writing – the actual act of putting pen to paper. Many authors admit to writing books long-hand in the first instance – JK Rowling is a famous example. Technology these days makes it increasingly easier to write here, there and everywhere, which is exciting indeed for an author; but I do not think technology will ever make notebooks and paper obsolete.
It’s the romanticism of writing, I suppose. The feel of the paper beneath my hand; the scratch of the pen as I write; even the smell of the book. The contours of the letters that form. The flow that exists between mind and hand and art.
I love to write in varied settings – in my garden, on a beach, out in a city watching the world go by. And the notebook connects me to those settings. A laptop in a sandy cove? Never. But a notebook – it belongs, somehow.
But for me, the best reason to write on paper is the record that you create. After years of writing, you have a stack of books that bear testament to your craft. You can look back and see the hours of work; see how you have developed as a writer; see the text you crossed through that now you see you should not have.
With the advent of the ebook, one can be a writer and reader these days with nothing more than a computer. But for me, paper will always be inherent in the meaning of the word ‘writer’.