Choosing Your Medium

So, you have your idea and have pretty good idea of where you would like to go with it, now it’s time to start writing. So, here is a question I would like you to ask yourself. Which medium would you like to use? Sounds a bit odd, I know. But this helps a lot. I know a lot of people think you should only use word processors, and I agree with this only while doing the 2nd, 3rd etc, drafts and editing. I prefer to write all my manuscripts by hand, I use Cross and Parker fountain pens to do this, I love the feel of this, and I feel it helps me to write. I’ll get into a few of the pros and cons of methods I’ve used, try them out and see which one works best for you.

Word Processor – PROS. When using a word process your draft has already been created digitally, so you can make as many backup copies as you’d like (I have 10 of everything). Also, depending if you are planning to publish your work eventually, you will more than likely need a digital copy anyway. It’s faster and if you have a decent spelling and grammar check program, it will catch a lot and make things easier for editing later on.

Also, depending if you are planning to publish your work eventually, you will more than likely need a digital copy anyway. It’s faster and if you have a decent spelling and grammar check program, it will catch a lot and make things easier for editing later on.

It’s faster and if you have a decent spelling and grammar check program, it will catch a lot and make things easier for editing later on.

CONS. Most word processor programs are a pain in the ass to use and a lot of the built in spell checks suck. I use Microsoft Word and a Grammarly add-on now, which seems to do the job rather well. As some of you may already know, these programs cost a pretty penny, and when I started, I didn’t have enough extra cash to get a decent computer let alone a good word processor. There is a free version of Grammarly and it works very well, and for the processor itself, I used Apache Open Office. I used this to write both Diary Of Jane and Whispers In the night. It was by no means a bad set up, I just found it to be very frustrating at times to use. Those are just examples, there are literally hundreds of different programs you can use.

I don’t trust them. Because they are digital, they are by nature prone to problems. A real life example is when your swapping files between yourself and your editor. With the very first run of Whispers In The Night, the edited file didn’t save. So I released and promoted an unedited copy of the book, because the two files didn’t convert properly. Was not a happy camper when I found this out.

They are connected to distractions. They are built into a computer which more than likely will have internet access. Not a good thing when you’re trying to get shit done.

I find it harder to find mistakes. Mistakes happen, they happen a lot when you’re writing and there is no real way to avoid this, even some of the biggest names out there have mistakes in their books. The only thing you can do is catch as many of them as you possibly can on your own before the book goes to an editor. And even though spell checks help a lot, to my knowledge, there isn’t one in existence that will catch everything. So keep your eyes peeled!

 

Now we go onto the good old fashion pen and paper! When I say old fashion, I mean fountain pens! In my earliest days of writing (when I was around 9), this and an old typewriter is what I used.

PROS. The words seem to glide easier (to me at least). When I went back to this style of writing, I found myself falling in love with the craft all over again.

You can take this anywhere without having to take your computer with you! All you need is a pen of your choice and a few sheets of paper and you’re good to go! On a break a work? On a walk or at a family gathering that you really don’t want to be at? This is my ideal choice.

No distractions! You can’t very well check out Facebook with a pen and paper now can you?

This is an excellent way to notice mistakes and detail your book when you’re transferring it to a digital platform. This is true because while you’re doing so, you need to re-read every single word you wrote, and then type it out.

If you like to have a printed copy to check over. It’s cheaper. Now, this also depends on the kind of printer that you have. The average printer will cost you around $60-80. Not so bad, right? Until you factor in that ink is around $30 a cartridge. And one cartridge will only do about 60-70 pages if you’re lucky. which means (depending on book size) your spending around $60-90 or more, per printed draft of your book, before it has even been released. And if you’re draft happy like me, that’s a shit load of dough. For a decent fountain pen your roughly spending $50- 80 and if you use bottled ink, it’s about $10 a bottle. Which tends to last me around 400-500 pages. Now, if you like to have printed copies, I suggest getting a small office printer. They cost around $150 and ink refills are around $100, but they do 2600 pages per refill! And they tend to last a really long time.

CONS. It takes a really long time to write like this. sometimes over twice as long, and if you’re trying to get a bunch of books released, fast. This will not work for you.

You have to make it digital anyway. It’s a very love-hate thing with this one.

You only have 1 draft. The single biggest downfall I find is that you only have one draft, you can’t make 10 copies and save them to memory cards and USB drives. That one draft is all you have, so if anything happens to it, you’re fucked. I scan each page once I’m done, just in case.

You run out of ink. There is nothing worse than being right in the middle of something good, only to run out of ink. A good thing about digital is that the writing space is endless.

 

I hope that this was able to help a few of you guys who were wondering which one would work best for you. If you want to get a fountain pen and have never used one before, TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT! There are a lot of shit ones out there, even some of the ones with big name brands. And do your research on the printers, I use a black and white Brother. Keep in mind, all the prices I listed are in Canadain and may change, but it gives you a rough idea.

Did I miss anything? You do you have a way that works well for you that I didn’t mention? Let me know!

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