Writing software… it can be the bane of a writer’s existence. Especially the versions in which you have to set everything up. You spend more time organizing things inside the software than you do writing.
I’m a sucker for writing software. I’ve tried PowerWriter, WriteItNow, Scrivener for Windows, yWriter, Liquid Story Binder, Microsoft One Note (a very cool peice of software), among others. I know it doesn’t work for me, and yet, the left-brained Claire is drawn to the organizational model these softwares provide. How everything — all of your notes, ideas, research, clippings, and trimmings — can be stored in one location. I find it so intoxicating. It’s all RIGHT THERE. Like a hard copy binder with tabs and maybe even a pencil pouch with highlighters and extra pens in various colors and sticky tabs.
Scrivener is like that. I started using Scrivener to organize what I had already written in my first draft. After a month of pounding away at the keys to produce roughly 25K words, I stalled out. I lost my motivation and inspiration. I went from “trusting the process” (written on one of my favorite mugs) to killing the process. MY process. More or less writing by the seat of my pants.
I smothered my muse!
With all my scenes organized and in order, I started to think TOO much about my plot. Too much about the backstory. I rewrote first scenes and hauled in a new set of scenes about the past, changing everything I’d already written. In my attempt to organize what I had in order to move on with the story, I cluttered it up and killed the creativity. I thought too much. I finally convinced myself the story wasn’t ready to be written and I abandoned it… for now.
Straight word processors seem the way to go, but which one?
I found Q10 during NaNoWriMo. It’s not like these other bells and whistles extravaganza softwares. It’s free and all it does is give you a blank screen. In fact, you have to QUIT the program in order to do anything outside of it (like Facebooking, or checking email for the gazillionth time). It can be customized so you can write with green font on a black screen (for writing at night), or a white screen with black font like a regular old word processor. I usually do the black with green because it’s easy on the eyes no matter what time of day it is.
I also have OpenOffice on my netbook, which, if you don’t know, is much like Microsoft Office and can even open .doc files.
I’m still trying to find the “perfect” place to write, be it OpenOffice, Q10, or on stone tablets.
Until then, my question to you:
Where do you type your pretty little words?
Keep on writing,
Claire L. Fishback