I’m a messy writer. Ideally, I’d sit at the desktop and, in one document, write a book from beginning to end. Ideally I’d be a size two and have a Powerball jackpot funding my swipey card, too.
But, alas, I:
1) Write scenes entirely out of order
2) Write in/on a variety of things including, but not limited to the desktop, laptop, netbook, the Notes+ app on the iTouch, notebooks, the Moleskine notebooks in my purse, the backs of deposit slips and restaurant placemats.
3) Can only do read-throughs and edits on printed hard copies. I can’t switch from creative to critical brain with the same display.
So while I take the menagerie of musings and input them into the “master document”, for hands-on, portable reading I end up with a mish-mash of scattered scene bits all over the place. When I’m curled up with my notebook and pen to continue a scene, I don’t have the computer on next to me. Actually, very little of my writing takes place at the main computer, so I need drafts to be portable.
This has led to an overwhelming urge to reprint the pages every time I enter bits of scenes here and there, which is detrimental both to my ink budget and the forests—even if I do two pages per side, both sides of the paper in fast draft quality. But when you write seriously out of order in bits and pieces, you need a visual tracking of what’s going on where and what still needs to go on, so I’ve burned through a lot of printings.
Enter the iPod Touch. It’s taken me a couple of weeks to train the brain to the method, but it’s working for me. In only a couple of minutes I can send the document through Stanza to the iTouch as an ebook. I can navigate through it easily enough using the search function. And, while I’m reading, if I see something I need to fix or tweak, I simply add a bookmark with a number. In my notebook I write that number in a circle, then mark the change. When I’ve added enough to the document, I delete that one (after making the changes) and resend the updated document.
Once I have a completed first draft, I’ll still print a copy. It’s a necessary part of my process. But being able to carry a current draft with me without reprinting it every week is pretty damn awesome.