TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else knows stuff that you don’t? It happens to me all the time but of particular interest to me today is the ever mystifying world of technology.

Now, as you know I try really hard to keep up. It’s tough. I’m naturally curious but not particularly adept. I know there are things out there to help me if I could only find them and then work out how they function and I persevere, hoping against hope that light will suddenly dawn.

I am about to embark on this year’s module – Creative Writing. I get to spend a whole year mucking about with words and it counts towards my degree. What could be better? My course book has arrived. The course itself doesn’t start for three weeks but I can’t just let the book sit there festering so I open it and begin to read. As seems to be the way of these things, it starts with lots of stuff about keeping a writing journal, noting things down that I think are interesting, ideas for stories, words, unusual descriptions. You know the kind of thing.

This is clearly a stationery purchasing opportunity so I hot-foot it to town and buy myself yet another new notebook and a celebratory pen. I begin doing the exercises in my new notebook and all is well. Except it isn’t. I don’t do handwriting any more. I type everything. I can type almost as quickly as I think and it has the added advantage of being able to read what I’ve written.

Hmmm. I ponder what I should do. Stories on screen, observations in my notebook maybe? But then notebooks are, by their very nature, chronological. If I conscientiously write down all these brilliant little nuggets what are the chances of me ever being able to find them again? Or indeed being able to read them if I find them?

A rethink is required. Slowly, my troubled mind starts to ponder the problem. This is the age of technology and I am surrounded by the stuff. I cannot believe that real writers are still scribbling in notebooks. Do I have to use a quill too? There must be an app.

There’s a Moleskine app now! Can you believe that? But after a few exploratory adventures I decide it’s not for me. I have lots of writing apps already. I can just start a new folder for the course. Simples. But I still need somewhere to record the little things, the half-formed sentences, the plot twists, the interesting surnames. I have carried a notebook in my handbag for years but surely I can just as easily type a note on my iphone and then cloud it to myself somehow?

I discover another app. This time it’s a cork board on which I can stick my own little virtual notelets. Marvellous. Once I get going I assume I will be able to catagorise them all. Need an interesting observation about weather? It’s right here. Looking for a pen portrait for a minor character? Look no further. Or I could just record my ideas as I’m walking along? Of course, I’ll feel a bit of a fool as I talk to my phone but I can always pretend that there’s someone on the other end of the line.

Of course only time will tell whether I will be able to adapt to any of this stuff. Whilst the idea of all these apps is immeasurably appealing, I know that they have to be simple and immediate enough to make them workable or I will end up going back to pen and paper. I suppose the main thing at this stage has to be to have a go and to ignore the amount of valuable writing time that I waste trying to work out how to get all the apps to talk to each other. Surely at some point I will stumble across the perfect combination for me? I have three weeks to master my technology before the course proper starts. How hard can it be? All tips gratefully received.

3 thoughts on “TOOLS OF THE TRADE

  1. Wow Imogen, what a lovely page. How does one go about creating such and with colour and pictures too? I feel technologically challenged on this one.
    However I do congratulate your start and organisation
    Best wishes
    Jan

  2. Hi Imogen,
    I am starting the same module as well and I have been going around and around notebooks, journals, apps and programmes for writing everything down and keeping the notes. It is a complete nightmare as there are so many and so many that talk to each other but not other apps etc. Let me know if you sort something out because at the moment I am striking a medium between the two.

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