B.E.D.April 19

Photo of my term paper draft

an afternoon at Sweet's with my term paper for company

Yes, that’s a handwritten page of yellow legal pad paper. There are many of these pages, and right now, that’s where a large chunk of my draft exists. Written down.

I’m a little old-fashioned, I suppose, when it comes to my writing practice. I’m a very tactile thinker. I rely on the physical presence of paper and pen, the ability to draw arrows and swoops between ideas and paragraphs, the yellow post-it notes that I link together to create an easy-to-adjust outline that changes as my drafts change.

Earlier today, Kelsey Dickson asked authors and writers what they thought of Scrivener. I told her I like Scrivener, but only in theory. I think it’s a great product. The built-in cork board for outlining is both user-friendly and ascetically pleasing. I could revise in-line with highlights and notes. I can create a hierarchy of novel to chapter to scene, and I can navigate this hierarchy within a sidebar that hides away when I’m not using it.

But despite how much I do really like the idea of Scrivener, and while I will never stop promoting other writers’ use of the program, I just haven’t been able to stick with. I inevitably export my files a few chapters in and go back to my dozens of crappy MS Word files; create my hierarchies by placing folders within folders within folders starting from my desktop; and revise by hand after I take my drafts to the local copy center & pay to print off hundreds of pages on their industrial printers.


Because I don’t want my cork board digitized, separated from me behind keystrokes and mouse-clicks. I like that I can only access my cork board (which is actually a white board, for me) when I’m sitting down at one place in my apartment. When I’m in my writing zone, the physical presence of my tools makes me slow down and think. I have spent hours re-arranging scenes on a white board, moving post-it notes of dialogue and action around in one singular scene, and in between it all, sitting down to feverishly type out a few hundred words before standing back up, slowing back down.

I’m an incredibly active writer, and for that reason, I need my writing practice to be very active, too. It’s the little things, like handwriting out scenes, that keeps me engaged.



  1. I love Scrivener, except for the little problem with Track Changes from Office. In the end, you gotta go beck to Office to use the damn track changes.
    And, yeah, I’m a kinda of paper girl yet and love cockboard and pins for real!

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