Today I welcome Casey Criswell as guest blogger on Rhodia Drive. An author of short stories and noted movie blogger, Casey is also co-host of the “Bloody Good Horror” podcast.
I’ve been a writer for a few years now. I’ve spent the majority of those years with a notebook and fountain pen faithfully by my side. My brain just works better that way! The notebooks and pens have often changed throughout the years, but one thing stayed constant; I was always a staunch black ink user.
My take on my tools of the trade have always been like my take on fashion; I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. My wants out of an ink pen were much the same; spending my time blogging, writing movie reviews and short fiction, black ink did the job and it was comfortable. I didn’t need any of those fancy colors. It was just a notebook, why make it showy?
Something came over me as the years went by. Those fancy colors aren’t so bad! In fact, they seem more vibrant than my stacks of notebooks filled with boring black ink. Eventually, I caved and dove into the world of colored inks.
In life, I’ve never been what you would consider “elegant”. I’ve always been the ‘dive in head first and hope for the best’ sort. My new use of colored ink was more of the same. We’re going to switch to this orange color and use it for the next month or until I grow tired of looking at it! There really was no rhyme or reason. This satisfied my needs of variety in my daily writing duties but eventually I found myself using the different colors in more constructive ways. The change was subtle at first; a few notes in blue here, some editing marks in red over there. After an extra couple of months, I quickly found out that my use of colors had grown into an organic system that served me well.
In the dark days of black ink, it was always a bit of a chore when I needed to pull some info from my old notebooks. Everything was flat black. It all looked the same. Without consciously setting my mind to developing a specific system, a good method started to take shape as the colors of ink and the number of fountain pens in my collection began to grow. These days, digging the important bits out of my notebook is quite simple: Movie notes to be used in a review a few days down the line? Those are scribbled down in black. Rough drafts of those reviews get written down in a bright purple color. Short story notes and drafts, those get put onto paper with some blue ink. My personal journal entries get the special treatment with a nice bright orange color that makes me happy.
No more do I have to worry about weighing down my bag with four separate notebooks or combing through hundreds of pages of black scrawl! Now it’s simply a matter of looking for the colors in an old book and narrowing my search to what I’m looking for, be it notes, reviews or rough drafts.
I’m not a very organized guy; multiple journals just meant I eventually lost one and went back to scribbling everything down in one place. This way, I can keep my every day carry to a minimum while giving my cluttered writers brain a bit of needed structure.
Of note – Casey’s notebook in the image above is a Quo Vadis Habana.
Visit Casey on the web: