And I always carry a little notebook around with me, even though I have Sticky Notes on my laptop, Evernote on everything, Notes for my iPHone and Dragon dictation for sudden thoughts. So why can't I trust the electronic media with my brilliant ideas? Especially for thoughts on the books I'm working on. It must have something to do with knowing a large meteor strike won't destroy my words forever. Or is it that I enjoy seeing them on the page? When I actually put them down they become real, no longer in my imagination, but out there, for anyone to read. And I can underline the words that seem important, doodle flowers while I think, draw lines to show connections in the plot.
I also write TO DO lists on the back of envelopes at dentist's offices and while John drives. I have to know what's ahead for the day and the week and whether I can handle it without becoming a basket case. I keep all the little notebooks, even when they are full and flicking back through them is like opening a treasure trove: the first lines of Her Royal Spyness being played with. Thoughts on a new book that might take place on Ellis Island, or a lost child, or notes on Paris art world. My whole career evolving in a stack of pretty note books. Yes, they are always pretty. I must have attractive books to put my thoughts into.
So how about you, Reds. Electronic notes or pen and paper doodles? And anything else you can't live without?
HALLIE EPHRON: Like you, Rhys, I'm addicted to paper. And I love the feel of using a pencil that's just been sharpened.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I keep a yearly pocket-sized calendar despite the fact that I use Google calendar to coordinate my life (I love being able to confirm an event on email and then dump all the info right into my calendar.) I like the permanence of the paper copy - the Cloud may drift away, the Polar Vortex may freeze all electricity and keep my computer from working, but I have those little leather or cloth bound books lined up in the parlour bookcase, and they're not going anywhere.
I also do all the work on a book that's not actually writing in composition notebooks, one per novel. Ideas about themes, character sketches, plot trees, chapter outlines; it all has to be pen or pencil on paper. I experience a different quality of thinking when I'm physically marking something down. It's not just the ability to scribble out and make circles and arrows and boxes (which I do.) I tried one of those programs that lets you fool around with symbols and even add pictures and link to other things. I couldn't use it. For me, keyboard + screen = composing. Pencil + paper = proposing.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yup, day planner on paper, a slim little book, exactly the same one every year. I love it, an dI can see the whole week, and the flow of the time. Yes, I have it all on my Outlook, too, but I still like it on paper.
LUCY BURDETTE: No paper dayplanner for me. I've moved on to the computer calendar that syncs with my iphone. But I haven't mastered electronic notes. I tear into quarters pieces of computer paper that I would otherwise recycle, and those are for my notes. At night while I'm reading often I think of ideas or scraps of dialogue and jot them on these paper.
SUSAN ELIA MCNEAL:
A lot of what I do these days is on a computer. The hubby and I sync our e-calenders, which has actually been pretty useful as we each have a lot of travel and things going on.
When I'm roaming a city, doing research, I like the notebook application on my phone — it even has virtual yellow lined paper! Then you can just email it to yourself... No need to retype. (Have any of you found that the more you type, the worse your handwriting gets? I actually HAD to switch over to notes on the phone because I can't read my own handwriting...)
However, for plots, character sketches, and outlines, it's pencil on a yellow legal pad for me. It just feels right.... A cup of coffee is good, too....
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I put everything in my Google calendar, which coordinates with my phone (most of the time) and sync's with Rick's calendar. It's incredibly useful, but--I still hang onto paper. I buy a new Quo Vadis diary every year. I can see a week at a glance, put down to-do notes, and day's writing goals. I don't quite trust the Cloud--I know people who have lost years' worth of Outlook calendars... and I think, as Julia commented about writing, that our brains just process written material differently. I keep two spiral notebooks. One is my everyday record of things; phone calls, to-do lists, travel confirmations, instructions from the vet... You name it, it goes in that notebook, with a date. When I've filled a notebook, I used a label maker to put the beginning and end dates of the notebook on the front cover, then I stick it on the shelf on the Chinese secretary in my office. It's a messy record, but I can go back years and see what happened when. I keep another notebook for those writing notes, one for each book. Plot ideas, character sketches, bits of scenes and dialogue. Often I'll write the beginning of the next day's scene in the notebook before I go to sleep. Somehow paper is liberating. Interesting.
PS: Rhys, you know I'm with John on the tea:-)
RHYS: I have to confess that I do love good loose tea. I just don't enjoy cleaning the tealeaves from the teapot. Although now we have an infuser built it. Brilliant. But aren't we a bunch of dinosaurs, clinging to our paper notes? I think we're all afraid a meteor strike will rob the world of our prose and ideas!
So how about you? Who has gone completely electronic and who still clings to paper like most of us Reds?