Writing a book used to be a simple, but longwinded thing. You took some paper and a pen, and you wrote. When you got something wrong, you crossed it out and wrote it again. Then along came the typewriter and that made things neater, but mistakes still needed correction. And then correction fluid. Now we have computers, netbooks, tablets, smartphones….There’s almost no end to the number of gadgets that allow you to write, blog, compose, educate…on the move.
But what do you NEED? Obviously, if you’re blogging, you need something with access to the internet, so you can upload your wit and wisdom for the eager masses. And if you’re any kind of author, you should know that a blog is part of building your author platform (See Kristen? He CAN be taught!) So there’s an argument right there for the inclusion of a computer and router in your Writer’s toolbox.
Inspiration is a flighty thing, and it can strike at any time. A decent smartphone can let you record your brilliant idea as it occurs. Maybe you can even slot the bare bones onto Twitter for the benefit of your followers. (And isn’t it great to have followers? Like you’re some kind of prophet leading your people through the literary desert to the flowing waters of wordy goodness….) Ok, a smartphone. Which we’re definitely not getting for the games, oh no. Ooh, look, Bejewelled!
Smartphones are good for 140 characters of tweet, but writing my novel two thumbs at a time? No way. But a laptop is too bulky. Get yourself a neat little netbook, hook up to the Starbucks Wi-Fi and away you go! Proper keyboard, decent size screen, and you can even check Facebook. For your author-type publicity updates of course.
You know what’s coming, though, don’t you? All these things are lovely, and yes, to be a successful published author, you’ll need to use the internet and present your manuscript in a legible form. But to write, to communicate the notions in your ever-whirring brain, all you need is that good old pen and paper. Don’t believe the hype that says you need the latest software to write your novel, or that you can’t live without a 28inch screen for your PC. You could write a whole novel in pen on paper, and it could be just as good as a first draft in Times New Roman in Word. Yes, you’ll have to re-type the whole thing, but if you aren’t planning to do more than one draft, then you’re no writer, my friend.
Today’s secret is a simple one: To be a writer, you only have to write, and you can do that with a pen and a piece of paper.