Jun 2, 2017

Paper or Plastic?

While googling stock images for an upcoming workshop I stumbled on this picture.  It sparked a memory of the surprise I'd felt upon learning that some of my fellow writers WRITE THEIR BOOKS BY HAND.

Yep.  You heard me.  In this day and age many busy, prolific, professional authors write their first drafts, in their entireties, using pencil and paper and only then do they type them into a modern electronic storage device.

While I am a lover of all things paper - as several of my previous posts hereupon will attest - I can't imagine working in that fashion! Not because its wrong, or bad, or double handling, or any more or less inefficient than the curly-wurly, roundabout way that I write. It's simply not how I get that kind of stuff done.

And it got me to thinking.

We all have different ways of getting stuff done.  "To-do" stuff.  Organisational stuff.  Productive stuff. And while getting stuff done seems like something we should choose to do in the most direct way possible, our reasons aren't necessarily thus (see my curly-wurly, roundabout writing method above).

Sometimes it comes down to how we've been taught.  Sometimes we've gone looking for better ways to use our time.  Sometimes it comes down to what feels best.  Sometimes its all about security.  Sometimes its simply by way of habit.

And - harking back to the picture that started this stream of consciousness - its funny how the methods we employ in getting that stuff done so often comes down to this:

So, for fun, let's see where you fall on the all important spectrum, shall we?

    *    Spending: cash or credit?

    *    Writing a letter: notepaper or email?

    *    Shopping Lists: note on fridge or app?

    *    Keeping track of appointments: paper calendar or phone calendar?

    *    To do lists: random scraps of paper/notebook or app?

For the writers among us...

    *    First draft: paper or computer?

And the readers...

    *    Books: paperback or ebook?

Upon taking this quiz myself I find that I often do both. Talk about double handling!

Have you found any ways to do it better?  To stay more organised?  To get stuff done?


  1. What a fun blog, Ally! I think I'm a little committment-phic with some of these things, as I like the option to switch back and forth.

    Spending: cash or credit? Both! Cash for smaller purchases and credit/debit for larger ones.

    * Writing a letter: notepaper or email? I'm going to say both, because even though I don't write letters by hand I do love writing cards for people.

    * Shopping Lists: note on fridge or app? Definitely paper and pen for this one.

    * Keeping track of appointments: paper calendar or phone calendar? Paper here too.

    * To do lists: random scraps of paper/notebook or app? Both, I use Wunderlist on my laptop but I also often handwrite lists as well, especially if it's a to-do list for a single day.

    For the writers among us...

    * First draft: paper or computer? Definitely computer, I can't even imaging handwriting a manuscript.

    And the readers...

    * Books: paperback or ebook? Both, although I am increasingly turning more to ebooks for space-saving reasons.

  2. OMG that came out so long and I can't edit it to reduce the space lol sorry!

    1. Oh Stephanie, it's a very important survey. You needed to take the time to think it through :).

  3. Hi Ally

    Great post

    here goes for me

    * Mainly card (debit) but cash also
    * Mostly email but I write out cards
    * Paper for shopping list
    * Appointments both phone calendar and paper
    * To do lists scraps of paper :)

    For me I buy e-books but still read books and have a fabulous collection of them :)

    Have Fun

    1. You sound very efficient to me, Helen. Love it.

  4. Ally, I consider myself a bit old-fashioned...or maybe just a bit old...but my only "paper" answer to your pop-quiz is the shopping list. Everything else I use some electronic/digital form. Probably not the most efficient or the most updated of those things, but ones that suit my paper-based upbringing.

    Oh, and maps. I really, really like paper maps although the phone version is so much more convenient.

    Love this post!

    1. Thanks Bron! But paper maps? Noooo! That said I have no sense of direction so using a street directory always meant having to pull over a hundred times every journey to figure out where I was! The GPS on my phone is my beloved. He's called Ken and I love him.

  5. Oh, what fun! Here goes:

    * Cash far more often than card
    * Email more often than notepaper
    * Paper list kept by the phone, next to the fridge
    * Paper & electronic calendars (gah! need a better system)
    * To-do list is kept on my weekly diary...though sometimes I'll use the electronic notes on my ipad
    * First draft is ALWAYS paper :-)
    * And I'm in love with the convenience (and big print) of ebooks

    Like Bron I feel old fashioned in some ways...but obviously I'm a hipster (in my own mind at least) in others. :-D

    1. You, hipster, you :). Next time we catch up I'll be expecting a man bun and beard.

  6. Ooh this is fun!

    * Card - cash probably about 10% of the time and then probably only for small things like grabbing lunch from somewhere etc.
    * Email - Xmas is probably the only time I use notepaper/cards
    * Always paper shopping lists
    * Paper calendars
    * To-do list is paper - usually a post it.
    * First draft is on screen but my first 5 or 6 books were long hand until I bit the bullet.
    * I read probably more books on my ereader now. Maybe 75/25 is a rough breakdown of e v print.

    1. Can't imagine writing long hand, but mostly because I get RSI really quickly and my handwriting is terrible!

  7. Thought provoking blog Ally. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said writing first draft on paper is not the way that you get things done.

    * Spending: cash or credit? Primarily debit card, but I'm trying to move some costs back to cash as it's too easy to not realise how much I've spent using debit/credit cards
    * Writing a letter: notepaper or email? Email.
    * Shopping Lists: note on fridge or app? I chop and change - I do find paper easier at the store, despite always carrying my phone
    * Keeping track of appointments: paper calendar or phone calendar? PAPER! It's too easy to snooze the electronic reminder and forget about the appointment. Where possible, I decline the little appointment card and write the appointment directly into the diary.
    * To do lists: random scraps of paper/notebook or app? NOTEBOOK! Scraps of paper don't work because I always always always misplace them. Apps just don't work for to dos because it's a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'

    * First draft: paper or computer? Still unpublished, but first drafts are on paper for me. I put a lot of that down to the fact that I already spend 40 hours a week tied to a computer in my day job so try to avoid anything that forces computer use and productivity outside day job hours.

    And the readers...
    * Books: paperback or ebook? I mainly buy ebooks these days, but I still prefer paperbacks. Ebooks are just so much more convenient for the 'I want to read that story" purchase. They do sadly have side effect of not realising how many books you own.

    1. Lyn, I love your reasoning for writing long hand. It no doubt lets your brain feel the difference between both kinds of 'writing' too.

  8. Ally, what fun!

    Spending - more credit than cash.
    Letter - more email than paper
    Shopping lists - definitely paper
    Appointments - a big paper calendar
    To do list - definitely paper and yes, often scraps.
    First drafts - computer
    Reading - mainly paper. I love my ereads for the convenience but I still prefer the old format.

    1. Wasn't this fun??? I should turn it into one of those click bait quizzes on Facebook!!!

  9. Huh! I'm identical to Annie West!
    Spending - I always use my credit card when possible, as I get at least $420/year in free groceries for doing so (and always paying the full amount on the card each month, so never any interest and never pay a monthly fee to own the card)
    Letter - I email two girlfriends daily with what we are each accomplishing, but I still send handwritten notes in birthday/anniversary cards; I type updates in my Christmas cards so they are easier to read by the elderly
    Shopping lists AND to-do lists - Scraps that are shredded later (as usually work-related info on their backs)
    Appointments - Binder-size monthly calendar (kept forever, as I refer back often) with info getting written on monthly fridge calendars
    First drafts - I'm not a published author, but I DO find the computer is much faster for writing stories; that being said, I prefer handwriting my poetry so that I can see what I have crossed out previously
    Reading - Prefer paperbacks but reading more and more eBooks these days, mostly when they are free (like on the Harlequin Blog)

  10. So glad you all had some fun with this post! Funny how different our choices are but how adamant we are within them :).