Writing Process

I have had several inquiries about the writing process I use, so here are the details and some pictures.

The majority of content starts as handwritten notes, outlines and a rough draft. I use a “working journal” that I’ve designed and store in a 3-ring binder. I created this because I needed a specific structure. The pages are created from a template and printed on Crane Bond in 28lbs ivory. I have found that Crane’s 100% cotton, tree-free stock is consistently the best paper for writing with fountain pens.


For journaling and note-taking, I use Moleskine journals. I actually use several of the Moleskine products:

Volant Pocket Ruled Notebook, which I always carry with me for quick thoughts and quotes I run across.

Moleskine Large Ruled Journal for daily personal journaling.

Moleskine Pocket Daily Journal which I use for maintaining my daily cancer journal, including blood work, test results and notes on how I’m feeling.

Moleskine Large Weekly Desk Planner which I use rather than a Palm, which I replaced with a Moleskine some years ago.
The Moleskine works very well with my fountain pens and my mechanical pencils — can’t recommend them more!

I tend to use specific fountain pens for certain functions. For my note-taking and “working journals” I use my Sheaffer Balance II fountain pens. I have three matched fine-point pens, which have been modified and are maintained by Fred at The Fountain Pen Shop in Monrovia, California. I use Sheaffer Script blue ink exclusively in these pens. I also use a Pelikan M-1000 Souveran customized by John Mottishaw at Classic Fountain Pens in Los Angeles. This is a beautiful pen and John always done an amazing job of modifying the nibs to suit my preference for a fine-point and a dry-line.

I do a significant amount of marginalia, which I do with either a Parker Duofold pencil or a S.T. Dupont Orhpeo Palladium pencil. I prefer the weight of these pencils.

Once I have a working rough draft, I move to the computer, which are both Apple G4 PowerBooks — 12″ and 15″ with a 17″ Studio Display. For software, I use Nisus Writer Express . I personally like the ease of use of Nisus, especially when compared to Word, Mariner Write or Mellel. For my bibliographic needs, I use EndNote v. 7, which I used for creating my online version. I frequently compile quotes using Circus Ponies NoteBook, which was originally a NeXT application, now available for OS X. This is a great tool.

Once I have a digital draft, I usually print a few versions for editing by myself and Krissy, again, using the Sheaffer’s or pencils. Once we have a final draft. An archive version is created in RTF, an Acrobat version for the web and a converted version in TXT (text). I use the TXT version to post to this site, which is running on TypePad. Finally, I modify the TXT version to incorporate basic HTML tags and then use MaxBulk Mailer for notification of subscribers.

Well, that’s the process!

Craig Miles
View to the Woods

Image and text: Copyright © 2003 CM

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