I started out writing in pencil on loose-leaf lined yellow legal paper. Might I suggest that was not the wisest plan? The paper yellows beautifully, but it still has the lines on it so can’t be disguised as parchment, and over time, pencil smudges. Most of those old works are more a matter of interpretation than reading.
I worked on typewriter for a bit (with the white correction ribbon) before I moved to computers. I’ve typed on a whole lot of different computer systems, including an Atari 800 game machine with a word processing cartridge which allowed for formatting by typing an opening hexadecimal code, the text, and a closing hexadecimal code.
I’ve written on notebooks of all shapes and sizes with both pen and pencil, including my latest digital pen option, Livescribe, which, when you write on the special paper, stores an electronic image of the writing that can be run through a translator or just read on screen so it makes the step of getting from paper to electronic copy easier, though still not easy.
I started working on a “tablet” years ago with my Palm Personal PDA which had a built in word processing program. Though I used the screen keyboard often, I also had an infrared mini keyboard for faster typing after a while. I would take the kids to a local amusement park that we had season passes for. They would run around in the water park area while I straddled a stone wall and typed away.
After a number of Palm upgrades, I moved to a smartphone. I have written short stories, novel scenes and world building notes while waiting in cars for kids to get out of school, at long appointments, or even when out on a walk. My most recent strangeness was writing two blog posts (one mostly complete, the other only a seeder paragraph for a post) while actually walking instead of stopping to write. I did pause to cross the road though.
The other odd place you’ll find writing notes around my house is in the margins of my Sudoku book. After all, to do the Sudoku, I require a writing implement (in this case a pencil) and so if an idea crosses my mind, it seems only logical to scribble it down. Afterwards, though, there’s the question of do I type it in by memory, bring the whole book (it’s got 562 pages and is probably 8X12 inches), or tear out that puzzle or section of the page. This last time, I brought the whole book, but I’ve done both of the other options too.
The Sudoku book and my smartphone have pretty much taken over the task, but for a while there, I was using dry erase markers and writing notes on my bathroom mirror (as I think I mentioned once upon a time on the blog and if I didn’t, I’m using a snapshot of one as the image for this post), but it’s messy and doesn’t have many options for transferring because it’s not like I can pick up the mirror and carry it with me.
So how about you? What are some of the strange places, or strange tools, that have aided your writing endeavors? Whether you’re a writer or not, I’ll bet you’ve had those flashes of insight you want to preserve. Do you find inspiration happens more often when you’re off the beaten track? Or is it a matter of opportunity, leaving scatters of writing wherever you go?