Monday, September 26, 2011

Tools of Creation

We have such a vast array of tools today to help us with our writing.  Computers provide ways in which we can speed up the writing process with spelling, grammar and formatting all part of the package.  Traditional pen and paper are fantastic for  those moments of instantaneous inspiration.  Voice recorders are useful for notes on the run.  Each type of writing tool has it's benefits, and it's pitfalls.  I believe every one of them has it's place, in the practice of writing. 

I guess you could liken the creation of a new work, to creating a garden. 

When seeds are sown, a trowel and watering can are needed to plant and water them in. When the weeds appear, a different tool is required. In the Winter pruning tools are used.

So it is with writing, each tool is useful in it's season. So now instead of worrying if I am doing it all the right way, I let the season dictate the tools I use.  I must say though, there is nothing quite as satisfying as rolling up your sleeves, donning your gloves, and ploughing away long hand.  It's seems to do something for my soul, that a computer cannot, and the fruit is usually much more flavoursome.


30 comments:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly, Nicole! A great analogy. As for the pruning, well...I end up cutting out a good quarter of my book. It's amazing what words you can do without.
    I thought I'd finished with pen and paper, except for those "brilliant" ideas popping up in the middle of the night. A computer just wouldn't do then.
    I also thought the picture held a deeper meaning with the extra pair of hands supporting. Isn't that how the Lord works when we dedicate our writing to Him?

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  2. Alas, my thinking isn't linear enough, nor my handwriting legible enough, to allow pen and paper to work for me.

    The point about using the right tool for the job is well made. There are several semi-popular computer programs especially for writers, although I find myself always going back to Word. However, I've developed quite a few macros to customise Word. One of the most useful is a lazy way of inserting bidirectional hyperlinks into a document, which is really useful during plotting to indicate related events (eg, foreshadowing).

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  3. I integrate many methods, including longhand on pen and paper. It can be a messy process but one of the best lessons I've learned is that trying to stick to some neat 'how-to' method doesn't work well for me. Jotting it all down to start with in a haphazard book seems to work, so I stick to it.

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  4. I like the way you put it: "each tool is useful in it's season."

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  5. what ever method works for you. I think everyone uses different tools as we all have different talents and gifts. As we also write differnt things and in different ways.
    I always use Word as that is what i learnt and grew up with. We generally don't like to change things that we know.

    MEL

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  6. Hi Nicole, like others have said, I use different methods at different times. But I do like longhand when I'm writing fiction, especially when I'm writing a first draft and trying to dig deeper into the characters and story. Thanks for sharing your analogy with us :)

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  7. Hi Nicole,
    Your post made me smile as I bought a laptop today, a tool that I never thought that I would bother with, but I guess it's season has come. The old desktop has never liked me or I it. Having said that, though, I still do all my first drafts in longhand.

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  8. Hi Rita,

    Yes, I loved this picture with the two sets of hands. I am so glad that you found the message in there. :) Without God's hands upholding us, our writing is folly. I can also identify with the pruning of words.

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  9. Hi Peter,

    Yes, I must admit that Word is my favourite also for writing, as far as word processing goes. And I love that we are all so diverse in our methods, as we are diverse in our personalities. Bless you heaps.

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  10. Ha ha Paula, yes my writing is also an insanely messy process, but one that I find deeply fulfilling. :)

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  11. Thanks Penny. Writing is definitely a craft that is very diverse and beautiful, both in process and product.

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  12. Hi Mel,

    I agree about not liking change. Word is also my favourite word processor by far. However lately I have been taking more risks with that. I have always liked a challenge. May latest Mt Everest is Dreamweaver, and learning to design web pages.
    I love that both as individuals and writers, we are all so diverse. That is what makes writing and reading so much fun. :)

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  13. Thanks Narelle.

    My beginnings always seem to start on paper but quickly migrate to the computer. One day, when I own a laptop, that may change. We are so blessed to have so much choice at our fingertips. :)

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  14. Hi Debbie,

    Good on you for buying a laptop. I would loooove one. I think it would be a wonderful tool to have. I think we are just so blessed to be surrounded by such technology, yet me can still choose to keep it simple if we wish. Happy typing!

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  15. I love the analogy, Nicole. I kind of forget how many tools are at my disposal that I use without even thinking about them - until a post like this points them out to me. Thank God for all these wonderful gadgets - my pen just cannot keep up to my brain like a computer keyboard can. :)

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  16. Yes Amanda, I must admit that I can type faster than I write. Imagine what it would have been like to long hand everything before the invention of typewriters? I learned to type on electric typewriters, but used manual ones earlier on in primary school. Computers just make writing so much faster. Thanks for your comment :)

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  17. I'm like Amanda ;) Fingers and brain need a computer for me to make a story. Notes, I can scribble on anything... but I need my computer for real writing. I use the Scrivener programme. Keeps all my research and planning in the one place... including pictures and web links too. It works for me. Can't imagine doing it any other way now :)

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  18. I loved your picture Nicole, what a beautiful image of you & God creating something together! I jot down my ideas in a book but use my laptop when I'm really getting into it! :)

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  19. What an interesting analogy! We use the tools in a garden, but it is God that makes the plant grow. So with our writing. We plant, but writing takes on a life of its own, nourished by the Son, guided by the Spirit!

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  20. The idea of writing a manuscript in longhand appeals to the romantic in me. Unfortunately, my hand writing is nothing more than a bit of scribble that even I have trouble deciphering. It’s a Laptop for me. However, I also keep a notepad by my bed, in my handbag, and in just about every room in the house – you never know when inspiration will strike.

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  21. Great analogy, Nicole!I'm a keyboard gal myself, although I do have tear-off notepads everywhere: bed, kitchen, handbag, occasionally even in the bathroom:) But afterwards, I transfer all that scribble to my computer, which has a very organised 'filing system'. I don't seem to be able to work well with brain maps and whiteboards and paper.

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  22. Hi Dorothy,

    I'll have to look into the Scrivener program. it sounds very interesting. :)

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  23. Thanks Lynne, I love to garden, so I guess this is one way God speaks to me. I cannot wait to have a laptop one day.

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  24. Amazing isn't it Jo. God is my inspiration to write, outside of Him, I cannot hope to create anything of lasting beauty.

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  25. Hi Rose,

    I love to write long hand,as I enjoy the art of handwriting, regardless of whether it is legible to anyone else. But I do love the computer for it's speed and efficiency. We are so blessed to have both :)

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  26. Thanks for sharing Margaret. I have loved hearing how everyone writes, and the mechanics behind it all. This blog is so much fun :)

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  27. 'Each tool is useful in its season'. I like this, thanks Nicole.

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  28. Thanks Laura. I must say I enjoy the writing process, just as much as the finished product :)

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  29. Hi Nicole!
    Loved your post. Loved how you talked of tools. We Christian writers have even more 'tools' don't we? Prayer, God's guidance, the Spriit's work are perhaps some of them?
    Thanks for the beautiful thoughts!
    Anusha

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  30. Great post Nicole,
    I've now got an iPad and have used it once to jot down some notes... I'm sure I'll use it more - our choices are a blessing.

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