Writing Down the Bones


"First, consider the pen you write with. It should be a fast-writing pen because your thoughts are always much faster than your hand. You don’t want to slow up your hand even more with a slow pen. A ballpoint, a pencil, a felt tip, for sure, are slow. Go to a stationery store and see what feels good to you. Try out different kinds. Don’t get too fancy and expensive. I mostly use a cheap Sheaffer fountain pen, about $1.95. It has replaceable cartridges. I’ve bought hundreds over the years. I’ve had every color; they often leak, but they are fast. The new roller pens that are out now are fast too, but there’s a slight loss of control. You want to be able to feel the connection and texture of the pen on paper.

Think, too, about your notebook. It is important. This is your equipment, like hammer and nails to a carpenter. (Feel fortunate- for every little money you are in business!) Sometimes people buy expensive hardcover journals. They are bulky and heavy, and because they are fancy, you are compelled to write something good. Instead you should feel that you have permission to write the worst junk in the world and it would be okay. Give yourself a lot of space in which to explore writing. A cheap spiral notebook lets you feel that you can fill it quickly and afford another. Also, it is easy to carry. (I often buy notebook-size purses.)

Garfield, the Muppets, Mickey Mouse, Star Wars. I use notebooks with funny covers. They come out fresh in September when school starts. They are a quarter more than the plain spirals, but I like them. I can’t take myself too seriously when I open up a Peanuts notebook. It also helps me locate them more easily- "Oh, yes, that summer I wrote in the rodeo series notebooks." Try out different kinds- blank, lined, or graphed pages, hard or soft covered. In the end, it must work for you."

Natalie Goldberg
"Writing Down the Bones"


[via The Ink Workshop]

Image: "July 17 2007" by jwill9311 @ Moleskinerie/FLICKR
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