Notepad to Notebook

Struggling Writer has shared some photos of his NaNo efforts, which show how he is writing in longhand in his notebook (meaning the paper variety, not the electronic kind).

This got me thinking about the “old” days (and I’m about to show my age here). Way back in the times before computers and mobile phones, yes, those times did exist, I wrote longhand too. I hand spiral notebooks, which were ideal for ripping out pages of dribble and starting again (when necessary; and it seems that it was often necessary).

I used to write at strange times: a page before I turned the light out at night, half a page while waiting for dinner to cook, a sentence during the ads whilst watching TV, sitting in a deck chair while the family did some fishing, during my lunch hour, even during my boss’s lunch hour (when I was supposed to be working). 🙂

Then I got another job and was introduced to a computer. It was love at first sight! But…at that stage, all my typing was still done on a typewriter. I was unaware of software that allowed letters to be typed on the computer.

A few years passed, I changed jobs again and what do you know? WordPerfect became my new best friend. It was at that time that my manuscripts were half written in longhand and half typed in WordPerfect. In case you can’t figure that out, let me put you out of your misery.

At home I wrote by hand, but at work, when I had spare time (usually only during my boss’s lunch break, I might add), I wrote in WordPerfect. I would usually try to write a page during these slack times at work and I would take that page home and stick it in the appropriate place in my notepad.

Two more years passed. Then, one day my boss announced that we were getting new computers. Oh, glee! But hang on, what would happen to the old computer? My eyes lit up. I had a plan.

My family are not rich, never have been. At that time, we struggled to put food on the table. There was no extra money floating around for a computer, not even a second hand one. But I approached my boss anyway. He could only say “yes” or “no” and I was hopeful. I could pay it off in instalments, wash his car, kiss his feet (OK, that might be going over the top).

I arrived home from work that day with a computer sitting on the passenger seat. My boss had given it to me because “it’s not worth selling”. Well, that was debateable, but I nodded in agreement. It was nothing like the computers you get today. There was no internet, although I’m told that the internet had been invented at this time, but I had never heard of it. This computer had building industry software on it … and WordPerfect. I was in heaven.

From that day on, I used the computer to write. Writing in longhand was only a consideration when we went on holiday. I still sat beside a river, while the family fished, and wrote, but other than that, I had gone over to the other side.

Around 1996 I finally replaced that old computer with a Windows machine. What’s that Internet Explorer thing, I wondered, but that’s as far as the thought went. It would be another five years before I had my first experience with the internet. WordPerfect was replaced with an assortment of other writing software programmes, but I finally settled on Word (because it seemed to be the “in” thing).

Then, two or three years ago, I bought myself a notebook of a different kind. This one didn’t have spiral binding and I didn’t have to use longhand to get the words down. This notebook plays music if I want it too, it holds copies of all my work in lovely neat folders, it is not connected to the internet (and never will be) and I can even sit beside a river while the family does some fishing and write.

Why would I want anything else?

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