Today’s guest post is from K.C. Dockal, author of the blog, K.C. Dockal: Scribbling by the Bayou (The Late Blooming Writer’s Blog) In this post, K.C. talks about how she uses a variety of Rhodia and Clairefontaine products to stay organized while working on multiple projects.
I’m an emerging (i.e., unknown) writer trying to keep my writing process organized and in motion and yet keep my sanity. To accomplish this I need good tools. For many writers today, a laptop or digital tablet with various utilities or apps do the trick. I work better creating drafts with a system of paper products then digitizing those drafts on a laptop PC.
I write short stories, have a novel in work, and maintain a blog. A draft of any form begins on a paper that behaves well with my fountain pens and my preferred inks. I find Rhodia and Clairefontaine Staplebound A4 notebooks ideal for my daily creative work. The slim profile makes for easy transport and the ability to fold the tough cover back on itself suits my “curl up on the couch” posture. Rhodia and Clairefontaine papers are, as I’ve mentioned here in my blog, some of the finest papers out there for fountain pen users. I use “wet” Namiki and Pelikan pens and a “bulletproof” ink that soaks in quickly yet never bleeds, shows through, or feathers on these fine papers. I can scrawl a short story in an orange Rhodia, a chapter rewrite in a black Rhodia, and blog drafts in a bright, cheerful Clairefontaine Classic and keep each category of writing separate from the others.
Often in the editing process, I have paragraphs to rewrite that are too big for the margins of a printout but small enough to get lost in the chapters in my notebook. I will write these on a Rhodia #18 grid notepad. Once incorporated into the digital file, I can either recycle or store that sheet of paper.
My novel requires occasional deconstruction of major sections and this is accomplished on a large blank page (11” x 17”) with a mechanical pencil — and much erasing. Eventually, this effort is converted to digital format (timeline software) for the data analysis. Hm…now when and where did I say that character was born?
The creative process and the staying sane bits also require more intimate and personal writing. When the creative neurons are frazzled, I put my pens to use in letters or in a journal.
For letters, I bombard my friends with colorful blurts on Rhodia #16 notepads of the Ice, “R” Premium, and iconic Orange sort. Lined — ‘Cause that’s how I roll. For short missives or formal letters, I use Clairefontaine Triomphe or G. Lalo Verge de France.
For my not-to-be-seen-by-any-but-God blathering, I have used lined, perfect bound, sewn, or spiral journals in the past. The bulky bindings made these less than ideal for stuffing into a small purse or bag. Still, as much as I like the staplebound notebooks for daily writing, I struggled with the idea of using one for a journal. Then Rhodia Drive’s Paper Project happened and I had the opportunity to test drive the GraF it paper. Ah, new love. My pens and pencils performed beautifully yet the slight tooth provided a sense of control and feedback that encouraged me to slow down and enjoy the process of putting thoughts on the page alongside my non-artistic doodles. I discovered that Clairefontaine makes the Crok’ Book, a staple bound version of the GraF it. Happy day! This lightweight, highly portable little thing makes me smile every time I use it. It folds back nicely and I truly enjoy the freedom of an unlined page now. I picture a shelf stuffed with a rainbow of filled Crok’ Books after many years of confiding and scribbling.
Finally, a writer (or anyone who doesn’t want to depend solely on a battery to track minutiae or record inspirations) would do well to carry a small notebook at all times. Clairefontaine’s Life Unplugged Staplebound Duo is a simple, elegant solution. As with the other Exaclair products mentioned, each notebook has excellent paper, a sturdy cover, and slips into a pocket or bag without unnecessary bulk. It just works.
Now I just need to find an excuse to add a FAF desk pad to my arsenal.