That was nice to know, of course, and she gave good advice, though issues arose that kept me from submitting for a number of years. She hesitated, as though carefully considering what she wanted to say, then went on.
on. I liked the ones I used in college: 6″ x 9″, three subject notebooks, or 5″ x 7.75″, all spiral bound. They were fairly portable, but not too small (that gives me a hand cramp).
Three ring binders didn’t work, even when I was in my briefcase-carrying mode because (1) they were cumbersome even with a shoulder strap briefcase, and
(2) someone apparently laid a curse on me at birth: ‘All her three ring binders will end up with one bent half-ring, which will cause her manuscript pages to jump off the ring and tear’.
It is a dreadful curse, and if you combine that with my dislike of misaligned punched holes, three ring binders, even the expensive ones that hold The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, are ruled out. Marble notebooks are nice, but if you muff an entry, it is a bit of a production to tear out the offending page. If you do it too well, the corresponding page on the other side of the stitching will cast loose its moorings, and if you do not, there is a rather odd-looking flap of paper left.(Warning: the spirals in spiral-bound notebooks end up squashed and distorted and will also foul up your paper.)
- Pencils smear (I don’t like smears, whether on my forearm or on a page)
- Fountain pens, which I happen to love, have water soluble ink that tends to fade rather badly. (see the image at right, which I had trouble reading when I photographed it)
- If you use permanent ink, your pen will get gunked up rather badly. This is not a problem with the kinda-sorta throwaway pens, but with the Mont Blanc I inherited from my father, which has the 18K nib, it is not optimal.
- Rollerballs have ink that sinks through the paper, so you can only write on one side of the page. The other side is a complete loss.
- Felt-tip pens can be fun, but they can smear.
When you have an idea, jot it down. If it seems to have possibilities, jot it in a notebook. (Some kind of minor ideas are jotted in separate sections of three-part notebooks.
When you transcribe a page, mark it. I draw a diagonal line across it. If the whole page is transcribed, cut the upper corner off.
Never throw them away. They may be worth something in five hundred years. On the other hand, I myself won’t be worth much by then. Sigh.
Still, it’s another tool writers can use. (And it beats paper towels – see THIS POST…)