Tuesday, October 04, 2016

So, what WERE you doing all last week such that the WIR was awol?

On Sunday I made mention of the fact that the preceding week had been very busy, and I hadn't found time to do the WIR (a thing I love, and I know ya'll do too.)

Well, here's how the week started!

On Monday, publicist to the stars Dana Kaye came by to autograph a carton of her new book Your Book, Your Brand.

I bought a carton so I could send a copy to each of my clients toiling away in the publicity and promotion trenches.

I emailed Dana to ask if she had a favorite pen, or color.
She laughed, thinking I was joking.
Of course, I was NOT joking about pens! Heaven forfend!

pen choices for Dana

In fact, as a true pen snob, I had tested EACH pen to make sure it wrote smoothly.

 I'm sorry to report that nearly ten pens were not up to the task, and found themselves ruthlessly discarded. Talk about Write Or Die!

Then, out came the books, each marked with a sticky note with the author's name so Dana could personalize each of them.

Fortunately Dana runs marathons and triathlons, so she was up to the autographing task!

Now comes the extra-fun part: mailing all these out. Fortunately, I remember my publicist skills and mass mailings are old hat.  I am however going to make someone else cart these to the post office!

And just to make sure our conference room didn't get lonely, we also hosted an autographing part for Laird Barron!

Yup those are bookmarks for Swift To Chase.
Each one individually signed.

And if you don't think finding the right pen for signing on black card stock was fun, well, you are an old sourpuss!  It was GREAT.  And I found a new white pen that I just love.

There are 600 bookmarks to be signed. 150 of them went to a give-away. Another 100 or so will go up to Laird.  That leaves me with quite a few.  If you've purchased a copy of Swift to Chase, drop me an email with your (US) mailing address and I'll send you a signed, NUMBERED book mark. Because yes, Laird signed them, but I numbered them.

Fortunately some friends stopped in to ease the writer's cramp

Chris McEwen, Pouya Shahbazian, Laird Barron
And yes, Pouya is holding a bottle of some damn good scotch.
And yes, we opened it and had ourselves a swill.

Sadly, camera shy John Langan is not pictured. T'was he who arranged the book marks so artfully, and also made sure Laird got to the right office.  [Since I've repped Laird I've had three office addresses!]

And if you think this week is going to be less busy, let me show you what turned up on my desk this morning:

In other words, why am I still here when I could be home reading???


Scott G said...

Ok, that was Monday, but what about the rest of the week?

Long live WIR!

nightsmusic said...

I don't blame you for not wanting to lug all those books to the post office. I used to have to do that with mass mailings. Hated it. Glad you've settled in and things are...I would say normal, but I have a feeling they're never normal where you're involved.

Did I ever give you the link to Jet Pens I think I did, but that's where I buy most of my pens from. Click on that link and we'll see you tomorrow... ;)

I managed to prevent myself from building an ark (barely!), watched the thunderstorms overhead for hours every night, lost the brakes on my car on Wednesday and almost hit the front of a building (not happy here) managed to get everything I normally do on the weekends, done on Saturday and vegged on Sunday. I can't remember the last time I did that. It was wonderful!

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Oh how fun!

Those Pilot V balls (I think they're called? The gray plastic ones) in the front left cup are what I used to write most of my terrible fantasy novel in high school. I love those freaking pens.

(that novel will never see the light of day)

If I had to give a fast answer, I'd say the right pen for black cardstock would be some manner of Sharpie, either one of the metallics or one of the more paint styled ones that you shake after you activate the tip.

One my my in-person writer friends is querying, and went through quite the deliberation as to what bottle of whiskey to fortify herself with. She went with something in a similar packaging to the one pictured.

Colin Smith said...

Janet: You have entirely too much fun at work! ;) You and your pens... bless! ;)

I recall way back when--and it seems so long ago now--back when I believe you worked in the same building as Joanna Volpe (who had not long flown your nurturing coop), she had this hot-shot young writer who had written this novel in college. Ms. Volpe was smart enough to sign her up, and she sold that book. You, O Blessed QOTKU, were also smart and snatched up an ARC of said book to read and then offer as a writing contest prize. This was back in January, 2011. The book was DIVERGENT, and the writer was the talented and creative Veronica Roth. And what's this I see? An ARC for her latest? Could it be that history will repeat itself and there might be a contest on the horizon...? How much adult beverage would it take to persuade you to let me win? :D

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

There is nothing quite like the right pen, smooth without being slippery.

OT, I have to go to dentist now and I HATE it. What a way to start the day. I'd rather be sorting pens.

DLM said...

I have a shapely, perfectly weighted acrylic pen made for me by the son of a friend of mine. It is a glorious little instrument, and its provenance makes its curvy good looks even more appealing. I live in fear of the day it runs out of ink, as I am not a pen-maker and would Fear to Fix It.

It is a mark of my special, special love if I let someone write with it.

Great pens are one of the luxuries of life, and they do not have to be fancy pens to be great. James River Writers usually has a pen or two in the swag bag at their Conference every year, I've gotten some splendid pens this way.

Mmmm. Pens.

Almost as good as pie; and my doctor will never, EVER tell me to cut down on the pens. Perfection.

MA Hudson said...

Pens are pals; smooth, bright, and trusty, unless you get too demanding of course - then they just go and run out on you.

Colin Smith said...

Speaking of pens, I tend to do most of my hand-writing these days with pencil. Especially mechanical pencil. Two possible reasons for this spring to mind: 1) My scrawly handwriting doesn't deserve a decent pen; 2) I make so many mistakes as I write, the page looks ugly with all my crossing out in ink, and it wastes paper.

You, on the other hand, have lovely handwriting, Janet. Such penmanship (sorry, but "penpersonship" and "penwomanship" don't skip off the lips as well--no sexism intended) should be rewarded. :)

Donnaeve said...

There are two things I wish I could understand:

1) How is it, with just the right pen, one's signature actually changes? If I use just the "write" pen, my signature looks wondermous. If I use a pen that barely distributes ink, (think fine point) it looks like utter crap.

2) Why is it when you think about signing your name, your hand freezes, like your brain suddenly disconnects from it? I was telling my husband how, at the end of the author signing in Savannah, I had to quickly sign 15 books for the volunteers. Someone helped me by holding the book open and I can't tell you how HARD it was to write my name when I suddenly found myself thinking too much about the fact "I'm writing my name!" It's weird.

You were busy, busy, busy. But having Veronica Roth's latest book? Like a reward!

DLM said...

Janet, I also like your pen cups. The only question I have is, how can you store your pens point up? (Please don't tell me you under-roll your toilet paper. I would not be able to cope.)

Pens last longer (http://dianelmajor.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-most-incredible-pen-i-ever-met.html) if you store them point down. Like way ... waaaaaayyy longer.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Finding that just right pen is a very big deal with me as well. I must say your Monday far surpasses my average Monday. And to have a Monday replete with Scotch and a gaggle of talented writers. Glorious.

I love these peaks into your world. Thanks for sharing.

Colin Smith said...

Diane: Maybe it's just for show, so we can see the colors?

Here's your link:


CynthiaMc said...

I am a pen snob as well, ever since I received a silver Cross Century pen for high school graduation and a gold one for college. I use a blue Pilot V7 for journaling and pink, purple and other colors for fun. When I left HBJ (back when it was HBJ) one of my going away gifts was a gorgeous twisty pen to sign autographs with - that thing is true art and it also writes well. One of my going away gifts when we left Japan was a cloisonne pen that doesn't write worth a darn but it's gorgeous. My day planner pen is from my daughter. It's a 7-year pen (we'll see) with a treble clef and piano keyboard to remind me that I was once a working musician. I love my metallic gold pen for giving myself stars when I finish a to-do.

The family has figured out I'm am easy person to shop for: flowers, books, a cool pen. This is what heaven looks like for me (with a beach view).

CynthiaMc said...

I really hate it when I make a different typo after fixing the first one.

Susan said...

Yay! The pens make another appearance! I'm planning on moving my office from the front of the house to the back, and one of the things I'm most excited about is the chance to re-organize my desk with all its supplies. It's a sickness.

Speaking of new books! I just found out that my favorite living author, Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn) just released a new book and has another one coming out next year. His are really the only fantasy books I read, but I love his style so much because it's really a blend of magical realism and philosophy. His "A Fine and Private Place" is number two on my favorites list (after "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," which I also gush about). So if you're already purchasing/pre-ordering the books above, let me add some more to your TBR pile.

Cause I'm helpful like that. ;)

CynthiaMc said...

Colin - I use mechanical pencils for doing my beat sheets in my sketchbook and storyboard with neon post-it notes. I get looks sometimes from people expecting drawings in my sketchbook. I tell them I'm a word artist.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Thanks for sharing "a day in the life..." What fun! And is it wretchedly tragic or intentionally ambitious that for one itty-bitty moment I indulged in a fantasy and imagined my name on one of those sticky notes? (Either way, I'm purchasing Dana's book).

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Your right DLM, how about those pen cups.
Mine are ceramic, I have three, one has huge cock on it, (calm down Colin), it was from my days of collecting everything rooster related, a pretty blue mug with sparkles my daughter gave me from The Mirage in Vegas and my favorite, which sits on my desk in my office, "Give me coffee and no one gets hurt."

OT sort of...so anyone else have interesting pen cups to go with their perfect pens?

Anonymous said...

I was quite addicted to gel pens when I was in high school. Different subjects got different colors, and my writing was always in green when I could help it. Of course, sometimes I had to write something and I couldn't find my favorite green gel pen, so I had to make due. Such teenage woe!

These days, like Colin, I prefer to write in mechanical pencil. I said a small prayer for my students every time I wrote notes on their papers. Still learning English, and they have to attempt to read my handwriting? I was a teacher with the hands of a doctor, I swear.

The Noise In Space said...

I have to admit, I'm surprised at the value placed on bookmarks. When I'm marking my place in a book, I just grab a scrap of whatever's handy - old receipts, ripped-off corners of old napkins, scraps of paper towels, whatever. So, to me, that's the approximate value of a bookmark: the same as a shredded napkin (i.e. nothing). It would never occur to me to place any actual value on them, and certainly not to spend money making them. I would never think to read one either, as evidenced by the fact that the last book I bought came with a bookmark that I've been using, and yet I'm sitting here wracking my brain and don't have a clue what's written on it. I just went straight to the book without giving the bookmark a second thought. And now that I think about it, since most of my friends prefer e-books to physical books, they have no need of them either.

Reiders, what say you? Is there value in bookmarks to you, to the point that you read and remember what's on them? This is why I love this blog - these things would never have occurred to me.

Dena Pawling said...

I am a pen fanatic for a different reason. I can't use a “regular” pen. I need a larger barrel, and one of those gripping things certainly doesn't hurt. I took the California Bar Exam back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and I hand-wrote my exam using those fat babies. It took me forever to find pens I could use, and when I did find them, I bought a case.

Interestingly enough, my firm's managing partner buys advertising pens to give to clients and potential clients, and those pens are amazing! Really inexpensive and they are very easy for me to use.


I agree with DLM. You can't honestly call yourself a pen fanatic unless you store your pens point-down.

Long live a good pen!

Claire Bobrow said...

Those pen cups look like mint julep cups to me.

I'm trying to imagine how Laird's hand felt after signing all of those bookmarks, whatever the pen used.

nightsmusic said...

@The Noise In Space:

I have a few signed bookmarks, some from published friends, some from favorite authors. I have in my writing area, a big poster frame and I put them all in that. I don't want to ruin them.
Someday, when I'm gone, my kids can do what they want with them, but they're special to me. When I'm reading, I grab whatever's handy.

When I worked in the hospital, we got all sorts of cheap pharmaceutical manufacturer's pens. Same in the doctor's office I was in. Those pens are quite often amazing! Except to buy them, you need to order a thousand. Unfortunately now, at least in my state, they've changed the law so the pharmaceutical companies can no longer hand out pens. It's considered a bribe...

Craig F said...

My hand best fits pens that are slightly chunky without being fat. I have met some nicely expensive ones that fit that bill but I have some bad habits.

Somehow I misplace expensive pens and can never find them again. Cheap pens don't do that. I stick my hand out and a cheap pen jumps into it. I have relaxed to that quirk in the universe.

I had an affair with gel pens for a while but in Florida you have days when you can swim through the humidity. On those days the gel pens of the day would not dry. Nothing can smear better than those gel pens.

If they have gotten better I hope someone will let me know and I will attempt to rekindle that romance.

DLM said...

Noise (may I call you Noise?) :), I'm the same way. At work, I use either the wee post-its or even just the post-it flags. I do have a bookmark or two that I care about, ones I made for my dad when I was a tot, now inherited, or nicer ones I gave him later on. But mostly bookmarks are not meaningful to me: it's all about the books, for me.

Claire B. - mint julep cups! Exactly!

2Ns, I have a plastic mug from my dad's university, circa about 1978 perhaps. Also a ceramic mug I gave him, from an air show he and I went to maybe 25 years ago. Finally, there's the 'pens and other things' scissors and markers and oddments cup, a tall bamboo number with an Asian watercolor landscape painted on it, very much a touristy souvenir, provenance unknown to me. The university mug is probably the one I care about most. At work, I just have a large mesh one for markers and scissors, and a small purple plastic cup for ballpoints, given to me when I first started here.

Colin, by the way - mechanical pencils are a mighty fine thing, and I respect them very much!

More OT questions for our pen OR pencil enthusiasts: are you a .5mm writer, or .7? :) I have to admit a need for .5mm, as my handwriting demands as much precision as a pen can provide and thicker lines are all too easily rendered MUD by my scrawl. (See also, Donna's comment above on the quality of our penmanship with good writing instruments versus poor ones.)

Cheryl said...

For ballpoint pens I prefer Uniball Vision. But I mostly use a fountain pen with orange ink. When I finished my degree my parents gave me a whack of cash to get myself a gift and I bought a big fat green Cross. It's so much more comfortable to write with and I'm not throwing out a chunk of plastic every month.

And yeah, I do write longhand about a third of the time. I find I get more descriptive that way. Plus it's the only way I can write outside in the summer.

On the bookmark question, I use them if I have them, and tend to remember the branded ones. I'm probably exactly the kind of person those are intended for.

Colin Smith said...

Dena's link:

Noise In Space: Hey, Noise! :) I know I commented on this back when Janet originally posted that picture of the bookmarks--and I don't think that was the first time I made the same comment. You may well have missed that comment both times, and that's quite understandable. Comments flow like blood from a shark-bitten artery around here. :) In a nutshell, here's what I said: When I was at Bouchercon, I attended a panel featuring thriller writers. At the end I packed away my notepad, but then the moderator asked the authors to give contact info. Hilary Davidson was the only one who could hold up a bookmark and say, "Come get one of these--it's all on here." Since my pencil and paper were stashed away, hers was the only contact info I got. And yes, I checked out her website, and started following her on Twitter. She's on my TBR, too.

Bookmarks are a very neat and convenient way to promote a writer, their book, and their contact info. Few people read a book in one sitting. If you use an author's bookmark to mark your place, chances are you'll look at that thing multiple times. Subconsciously you'll take in the image, maybe the words. It'll form an impression and hopefully (if the design people did their job well) it'll be a good and memorable impression, so when you see the book and/or the author's name, you'll have a favorable association. If at some point you decide to read that book, but can't remember the author's name or the exact title, or some other detail, you'll know it was on a bookmark, and can go looking for it there, as opposed to jotted down on a sticky note somewhere.

Having lots of bookmarks to hand can be also useful when doing off-line research, marking places in multiple books.

Those are a few of my thoughts. :)

Claire Bobrow said...

Cheryl: I hear you. Writing longhand is great. I think my brain works better when I do that instead of tippy-tappy typing.

Anonymous said...

DLM, definitely .5 for me. Never did like the .7. The thicker lines look graceful about as often as I, in all my nerdy Hermione-ness, do.

Now, my mom can make any pen or pencil look like a precision artists' instrument. She always told me if I practiced, I'd get better handwriting. The problem is my hand can barely keep up with my brain as it is. Slowing down to shape the letters pretty makes the words disappear into the ether, never to be heard from again.

Dena Pawling said...

DLM - definitely .7 for me. With the smaller diameter I am always breaking them.

Colin Smith said...

I had a thought that would drift this way off-topic, so I'll save digging deep for a blog article of my own sometime. But it occurs to me that I prefer pencil tips that are not so thin they break (I'm not very light-handed), but not so thick my words become mush. And this is partly because I tend to have tiny handwriting when I take notes (not necessarily when I'm just writing). I like to cram as much info into as small a space as possible. Why? Probably for the same reason I like to use pencils: not to waste paper. I hate waste. Whether paper, money, food, etc. But the thing I hate to waste most, which is also the thing I'm most guilty of wasting, is time. But, as I said, that's for a blog post of my own. :)

Unknown said...

Janet please tell us your favorite pens!

Lennon Faris said...

Whoa. So many thoughts about pens and bookmarks... The seriousness is pleasing. I can tell I'm in the company of writers!

Donna - it's like running up the stairs. If you think about it, it's surprisingly hard to do.

Colin -"Comments flow like blood from a shark-bitten artery around here" - haha!

BJ Muntain said...

Like Colin, I do most of my handwriting (aka drafting) with pencil. For me, though, it tends to feel more creative - perhaps it's like drawing, but in words? So hard to explain, but I just feel creative with a pencil in my hand. I just buy a box of plastic 'mechanical' pencils with the rubber padding where you hold it. Without that padding, I get a terrible callous on my one finger. Especially after writing several pages single space, edge to edge, top to bottom of loose leaf. I tend to prefer thicker leads, but I just buy what I can, when I can.

Donna: The reason the wrong pen makes your signature look like crap is that it probably drags on the paper, interrupting your graceful hand movements.

Diane: That's not storage. That's just waiting for the lovely author to choose a colour. I can guarantee that Janet stores her pens properly.

RosannaM said...

For some reason this post just put me in a good mood. I think it is the glimpses into everyone's lives that makes this comment section so much fun.

First off I am tickled beyond words at Janet and her pens. Not for testing them, no that is to be expected. But for writing the word test every time instead of a little circular scribble! That's four whole letters times a buncha pens. Love it!

Now it's confession time.
1. Although I like bookmarks just fine, they are never in the place I need them so I end up using what's handy like Noise does. In fact, in one library book I'm reading now I found a playing card that someone had written 'bookmark' on it at the top and bottom. I'm actually becoming very fond of it.
2. And I can't remember the last time I actually used money to obtain a pen. I, like Colin, hate waste. And I get all these free pens from businesses that work just fine. So I can't waste them, and I can't waste money buying one I might like better. It is a sad thing.

And about pen holders. Years ago I painted a small terracotta planter like the bus from The Partridge Family. I can't remember why, but I still think it is pretty groovy.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Ooh! Serious insight here into why my queries get rejected...brainwave discrepancies. I read about time while y'all read about pens! So, my question is OT, but still important to me. You're obviously all serious about writing, so how do you manage your time? My issue isn't, "How do I get to it?" It's more like, Oh, that's it! (The next twist, segue, great sentence, etc.). Let me work that in before I forget. Then I'm engrossed, lose track of time, write a thousand words, figure I can stay up later to finish my client project (which I likely really won't), write another thousand, decide the kids can order pizza for dinner which gives me time for another thousand... I guess I'm looking for insights into how to stop writing. And please don't tell me it's all about the pen! At my house, those disappear like chocolate chip cookies and socks in the dryer...

RosannaM said...

Kathy Joyce I'll weigh in here.

Last year I did the NaNo and the rest of life fell apart. Clothes stacked up both clean and dirty, dinners were pathetic, etc. because I was hammering for the word count. I don't plan on doing it this year. I liked the challenge and knowing I could write faster if I needed to, though.

For you, it sounds like you are in the middle of your zone where you are trying to keep up with the story that needs to be told, and I don't think I would monkey with that too much! Keep writing. You'll know if things get too out of kilter in your life!

When life obligations bump up against my writing time, I try to pare nonessentials out. I get to the 'have-to's' but not a lot else. I have a writer's group friend who says she doesn't volunteer for anything. That's all I've got, I'm afraid.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Oh dear, pencils? Mechanical pencils? I do not like pencils, Sam I am. In a cruel twist of fate, much of my actual hand writing of things IS in pencil, because one does not write on character sheets in pen, and we have (best case) 2-3 games a week. No, I like pens. I like inky pens. My handwriting does best with bolder lines, so if I can write big and in Sharpie, it becomes magically more clear. I like fiddling with fountain pens, but I never quite caught the knack, though I adopted the calligraphic "f" for when I actually write out "Jennifer" rather than going by "Jen" (I actually always go by Jen, but "Jennifer" is my writing name, and so the email, etc.)

Colin Smith said...

Kathy: I don't have that problem at the moment, but if I did, I would give myself a set period in which to write. Depending on what else is going on, that might be as little as an hour or two, or as much as four or six hours. Set an alarm, and go for it. Perhaps have a five minute warning before the alarm goes off so you can jot down notes (perhaps keep a separate doc on your computer if you don't want to use pen and paper) of where the story flow is going. This will help you pick up the thread the next day. OR, you may come back the next day with a better idea of where the story should go (amazing what happens after a night's sleep). Then when the alarm goes off, close the document, tear yourself away, and get on with the rest of your life... until tomorrow! :)

That's one suggestion.

nightsmusic said...

Jen! (Jennifer :D )

Lovely feel, lovely pencils...

Uni Alpha Gel Pencil

Morgan Hazelwood said...

I love those pens! I have the rainbow spectrum for editing.

Kate Larkindale said...

I love a nice pen. I was just given one at work yesterday, but unfortunately it leaked and now my fingers are stained a dark shade of indigo. So I won't be using that one anymore. Shame… It made my indecipherable scrawl look almost elegant.

Unknown said...

Janet, I sure hope you had a swig and not a swill--that sure doesn't look like swill to me!



John Davis Frain said...

A less-than-scientific study found that when checking to see if a pen worked, 74% of people sign their name. Additionally, a separate less-than-scientific study found that 39% of people only like to use one color for all their writing.

Which makes our Queen a ONE PERCENTER. No surprise.

Also, I'm bad at math (and logic, for that matter) when it benefits the right people. Math is a big ol' pen in the ass.

JulieWeathers said...

I LOVE those pen cups. Mine, unfortunately are coffee mugs that have developed flaws. Hairline cracks or missing handles don't affect holding pens. I have beautiful laser carved desk sets I won as salesman of the month at the real estate company I don't use, but they are too pretty to toss. Seriously, who thinks a pen holder that stores four pens is a good idea?

Shelby Foote wrote everything longhand. He allowed that writing this way made him stop and think about each word as he was writing. It made for slower writing, but also more exact writing. He also wrote with a fountain pen. He kept each of his original, handwritten manuscripts in bound volumes in his office. After he was done with the day's writing, he would transcribe to the typewriter.

My mother and father, father especially, had elegant handwriting. It's indicative of a time when there was pride in such things and children got prizes for their penmanship. Now there are debates about whether writing should even be taught in school. Everyone everywhere will always have access to computers doncha know.

My handwriting is backhand even though I am not left handed. It drove my father, who believed very much in handwriting analysis, nuts.

I used to have several Cross pens engraved with my name, also awards for being top salesman of the month. Even with my name, they still disappeared. I stocked up on the better pens this year when school supplies were on sale. I got tired of reaching for a pen and discovering it was dry.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE bookmarks. When I am published I shall have bookmarks and so shall my fans.

This was an awesome post. I want to be Janet's client. I love the way she cares for them. Do I need to learn to drink scotch?

JulieWeathers said...

Kathy Joyce,

I put up challenges on the Books and Writers forum called Butt In The Chair. Basically, it's just to encourage people to sit down and write. When I start writing, it's with the idea I'll write 30 minutes. I have an antique 30-minute hour glass. I tip it over and write until it runs out. If I'm still going strong, I'll tip it again.

However, Hemingway advocated stopping while ideas were still flowing each day. Re-read what you've written the day before and the flow picks up. He wrote for I think four hours in the morning. That's the first thing he did. He did NOT write drunk edit sober. He said he could read Faulkner and tell the very place Faulkner had started drinking while he was writing and didn't think a writer could really do his best while drinking.

So, yes, you have to be consistent, but writing will always be there, kids won't.

Karen McCoy said...

*drools over everything, including Veronica Roth's new book*

"Yo ho, yo ho, a shark's life for me..."

Colin Smith said...

THIS: So, yes, you have to be consistent, but writing will always be there, kids won't.

Thank you, Julie. So very true. And I'm not aiming this at Kathy but reminding all of us who have kids. We're parents before we're writers. I blew off a whole Saturday afternoon that I could have used writing because my SecondBorn was at a loose end. We sat and watched music videos and talked until after 10pm. She turns 21 next month. Her time is more precious to me than my ms. If that makes me less of a writer, frankly, I don't care.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin Now days I jealously guard my writing time. However, I could only write a little at a time when my daughter was growing up. You are right- that time with your kids, you can't get back. I passed over a number of career opportunities when Kate was coming along because it was just the two of us, and there was nothing I could buy that could make up for time together. How fast those years flew, and there is still time to write. And besides, life experience helps with the writing. And good pens or pencils.

And I do love bookmarks because I strongly prefer having the physical book in my hand, flipping through pages, and all that old-fashioned stuff so I need the bookmarks.

K. White said...

I, too, write my first draft in longhand (although I do not refer to it as the first draft. It's more like the mind scribbles that get me to the first draft that I later type into my computer).

However, I am rather plebeian about the pens I use. Black to write and red for notes. Both purchased from a dollar store.

As for bookmarks, I've never received a signed one, so I don't know the value I would place upon it. However, I do keep and use the bookmarks I've accumulated over the years. Every now and then I even re-read the information on them.

Finally, I recently decided to stop following all blogs about writing, and use the extra time to ... well, write. I made it three days away from our Sharkly host before I had withdrawal symptoms and had to come back for a fix. Interestingly enough, none of the other blogs I used to follow had the same effect on me.

Jen said...

Pens and bookmarks are nice, but WHAT ABOUT THE SCOTCH??? Can anyone figure out the label on the bottle? I'm in the market for a new Scotch as my last attempt really was swill (not swell, nor worth a swig). ;)

Joseph S. said...

Finally, a blog thread after my own heart.

I LOVE wood mechanical pencils. (.05 mm for DLM). I write everything using them.

A former girlfriend bought me my first one, Rosewood, for Christmas one year. I used it until it split on me.

I found a big round one made in Brazil. It lasted a few years too.

After it broke (the internal mechanism went kaput). I could not find another wood pencil in Birmingham, so I ordered some off the Internet. All terrible.

Finally, I found a man in South Korea who hand-made the best pencils ever (he makes pens too but I wanted pencils). I bought two – one for home and one for work. Fantastic. I busted the work one in half in a faculty meeting.

The Korean made me a special gorgeous pencil I used for years. Then I broke both my home and school pencil in the same month. I think the glue he used to hold the prices together deteriorated. He offered to fix them for free. I felt so guilty I ordered six or seven more pencils from him. I only use three (one at work, one at home, one at my basement desk (my novel writing desk)). The others sit in their nice little boxes, waiting to be called to service.

I wish I could show you my babies.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised by how many of you write fiction longhand. My hand wouldn't be able to keep up with my brain, never mind that my handwriting is mostly illegible when I'm rushed. But I type super fast, so maybe that makes a difference. Writing something by hand, especially in cursive, seems like an elegant time-intensive luxury, to be reserved for special notes or occasions.

I agree with those who see pens stored upside-down and cringe. If I'm ever invited to visit, I'll no doubt get my hand slapped for trying to surreptitiously flip them over.

BJ Muntain said...

KD: I can type much faster than I can handwrite, but what I type just doesn't have the depth that my handwritten drafts have. I also handwrite in bed, where I'm relaxed and I'm not having to look at a screen. That way, I actually get more done, relatively, because I can edit it as a type it into the computer the next day.

My handwriting is also readable, I suppose. By me, anyway. I was forced to practice and practice my handwriting in fourth grade, because my teacher said my handwriting was unreadable. (In the days pre-computers, kids had to do their assignments in pen.)

DLM said...

Joseph my brain was trying to find the punchline with the bit about your former girlfriend's gift splitting on you. :) And then I typed it girlfiend and had a little fun all inside my noggin.

And then I posted here, when perhaps I should be relaxing and watching something non-volatile and upsetting, like NOVA or anything James Burke ever teledonned for, and drinking a good bottle of cider.

Oh my yes. See y'all tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

BJ, I think I just have a different process. I tend to do a lot of thinking before I begin to write, so then it's a matter of just getting it all down as fast as possible in a draft before I lose it. Editing, of course, is a whole different beast. Nothing rushed there.

We all strive to do whatever works best for us.

Colin Smith said...

kd: I usually write on the computer, but I take notes with pencil and paper. Sometimes I'll outline on paper, and definitely jot down ideas. I wrote my first novel (a 300,000 word monster I've mentioned a few times before here) longhand, but typing it up afterwards disabused me of that process. :)

Joseph S. said...

I'm a terrible typist - poorly self-taught. Consequently, for anything of any length, I must handwrite first. Even that, what takes me two hours to write usually takes me over eight hours to type.

All this is complicated by my illegible handwriting. I must type what I wrote within twenty-four hours of writing it or I can't decipher what I wrote originally.

I edit while I type.

Somehow I get it done.

DLM- She was a good person and had the sense to find someone better. She got a good husband. I got a great pencil. Good deal for both of us.

Janice Grinyer said...

Around here, Pendleton is where it's at. Sure, you can bring Jameson to a gathering, but it definitely puts you in as an outsider.

I also recently found out that road culverts are the cowboy's storehouse when their homestead is supposed to be dry. If I ever get injured while riding, I will be looking for a culvert first versus a cell phone signal. It takes approximately an hour for 911 to respond, so it would be a good use of time.

Cheryl said...

Kathy, one of the things you might try is using a voice recorder. That way you can get the ideas out while your hands are doing other things. Then later, when you have time, you can transcribe.

I'd like to clarify that most of my writing is not longhand. I save it for outside and when I need to be poetic.

The Noise In Space said...

Haha I hadn't thought about being shortened to Noise, but I like it. :)

I'll write with whatever pen is available, but my favorite is one that my dad made for me. He's an amateur woodturner, and the pen is a beautiful tiger-striped brown-and-blonde number with a deliciously heavy weight and a smooth finish.

Of course, truth be told, as pens go, it's not actually very good at its job of dispensing ink - it sort of blops it down like stroganoff from a lunch lady's ladle, leaving ink blotches all over the page. But still, my dad made it, so I continue to use it--legibility be damned! :)

Beth Carpenter said...

I'm amazed at the general love of longhand. I might feel the same, except I often can't read my own writing, especially without reading glasses. Even grocery lists become puzzles worthy of the DiVinci Code. Hmm, looks like log leeks. Some sort of log, like a cheese log? Wait, there's a squiggle at the bottom of the l. It's a d, so dog leeks, oh, dog treats. Of course.

BJ Muntain said...

KD: Of course! Everyone has their own process, which works for them. I was just speaking to the idea that handwriting is slower. While I don't get the words down on paper as quickly, the ideas flow better for me as I handwrite, which makes handwriting more efficient for me. And yes, that's just my process.

JulieWeathers said...

KD "My hand wouldn't be able to keep up with my brain,"

And that's the point for some writers. Hand writing forces the brain to slow down and think more carefully about what they write. Though she fiddles with sentences and words endlessly before she moves on, DG does all her writing on a computer. She says she switches stuff around the page would be illegible.

Foote, as I said, wanted everything handwritten with a certain type of pen and a particular nib, and he hated the new slick paper as it didn't have enough "tooth" for the ink.

There's no right or wrong way to write as long as you're writing.

Jen I'm sure the scotch is MacCallan. It seems to be the preferred brand.

Unknown said...

Thanks all for the insights.

Kae Ridwyn said...

OT - kinda - I've just finished Dana Kaye's YOUR BOOK YOUR BRAND - I couldn't put it down, even though my WIP isn't polished enough to even be at query stage (I'm planning on it being ready by Christmas, but the day job started back with a vengance yesterday *heaves sigh*)
But that aside, I was THOROUGHLY impressed. And I used to be a marketer :D