Back at the beginning, when I was an intensely intense teen doing my best to produce epic prose (and writing the sort of old willy that makes me quite thankful self-publishing was not a thing in those days) I always started with pen and paper. First draft, always, notebook and a couple of pens and off I would go. Once I had actually learned to type, I developed a habit of starting to type up Draft #2 before I’d got to the end of Draft #1, editing as I went.
Then, at some point, when I began attempting to write novels during quiet moments at work, I found myself just going straight to the computer and bashing away, tweaking as I went along. Over the years, my handwriting deteriorated as I hardly ever handwrote anything. (Apparently I’m not the only one, either. ) I hung on to a bit of a nostalgic fondness for pen and paper, and have always found it impossible to make those very early ‘what would happen if…’ story notes with a keyboard, not least because you can’t draw great big squirly arrows on your laptop that mean MOVE THIS BIT HERE. or THIS HAPPENS LATER THAN YOU THINK.
I’ve seen some writing tips which suggest you can create a spot of deathless prose on your phone if you have a stray five minutes, and the sheer portability of modern tech might be another reason why a lot of writers type everything and never bother with pen and paper. The machine on which I learned to touch type weighed about as much as a small child; no tucking that in your backpack and setting off to write whenever and wherever the muse stopped by.
Yesterday evening, though, I knew I had a couple of hours to kill, and the best place to spend the time looked like being a pretty rustic pub with choppy wifi. I put a notebook and a pack of pens in my handbag, along with the evening paper, and took myself off. OK, I had a small head start in that the notebook contained some preliminary notes and character descriptions for a new set of stories that are nagging away in the back of my head but, for some reason, pint on the table, lovely view out of the window and all the rest of it, I found myself scribbling joyously to the extent I had about a quarter of a chapter down by the time I had to leave the pub and saunter down the rural road. It’s curiously satisfying and curiously exciting to go back to being a little old-school.