Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
We writers love our technology. The problem is, though, that the computers we use to write our works of genius are the same machines we use to waste time reading about celebrity antics and to yell at strangers on Twitter for having opinions slightly different than ours. Sometimes, pen and paper are the killer app (though pencils tend to be sharper). Today, we’ll be talking about how to turn low-tech into high productivity.
- The notebook: You can buy a notebook pretty much anywhere. However, why not get one of those leathery Moleskine notebooks? They’re handy, and they signal everyone around you that you’re a Writer doing important Writing Stuff. After two weeks, it’ll turn into a glorified grocery list, but that just gives you an excuse to buy another snazzy notebook.
- The pen: You’re a writer, so you’re probably already spending an hour a week pacing up and down the aisles at Staples, admiring the selection of writing utensils and wondering if anybody would notice if you slid one into your bag. Get yourself a pen whose ink flows smoothly, but doesn’t gush out like it’s a firehose. Gel pens are great for this. Avoid ball-point pens. There’s no joke here, those things suck.
- The Typewriter: The older, the heavier, the more beat-up, the better. The main thing is you want it to be LOUD; when you type, it should sound like an army of spooky skeletons are storming your front door. This has the added bonus of scaring away any roving bands of skeletons, who are very territorial and don’t like to move in on another skeleton gang’s territory.
Some good-quality paper: Show people you mean business by buying some heavy bond in brilliant, gleaming white. Paper so white, it hurts to look at. Paper so white, it’s pronounced “HHWHITE!” Paper so white, if it gives you a paper cut, the cops will let it off with just a warning.
- One of those big writing tablets: You won’t be writing much in them, but if get an unwelcome distraction in the form of an acquaintance or family member intruding on your writing time, if you hold a tablet in one hand, pen poised and ready in the other, that is the international symbol for, “I’m doing a character study on you right now. Do you really trust me to portray you in a flattering way?” This will get them to either run for the hills, or to start heaping praise upon you about how cool it is that you’re a writer, so it’s win-win.
- A quill pen and inkwell (for advanced users): This is how Shakespeare wrote his sonnets and plays. You’re gonna look like a super-pretentious jerk, so you’d better bring your “A” game if you’re going to bring all this paraphernalia. You’ll also want to bring a roll of paper towels for when you inevitably spill ink all over the place.
Now that you’ve embraced your more primitive side, you know that you don’t need all that fancy technology to be a productive writer. It’s such a revelation that you should get your laptop and brag about it on Twitter and Facebook.
Do you prefer pens and paper to PCs and PDFs? Tell us about it in the comments!
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