When I first decided to keep my writing, it was all done by hand. I would buy college ruled spiral notebooks and color code them for projects. The freedom of writing outside, in nature, was a big draw. I took notebooks with me wherever I went and would write when inspiration struck. I even had small pocket-size notepads to keep to whip out when seeing a random character walking the streets or a strange situation. I would jot down notes and give a fictional story to the character or events and save the details for later use in a new story.
The downside of handwriting stories was I had to eventually type out all of the notes on a computer. Over a decade ago, it was rough going. I was more of a hunt and peck typist and transcription was painstakingly slow. The remedy came in a course in online typing exercises. Repetition works. I keep the notebook for the speed and flow of ideas while editing and adding content while typing. This way of creation went on for years. Another thing that held me close to the notebook, was that I also worried about what would happen if I lost my data. Once, I had my laptop stolen and lost so many things. The theft happened before I was in full writing mode and the lesson I learned was pictures cannot be replaced. A different time, I lost most of a manuscript (the third novella that originally made up the Wild Boys) when my computer died. Since those warnings, I have used flash drives to backup data. Today, even with the cloud, I always have a backup. The fear kept my notebooks alive.
Technology changed. I went from using Word and a free usage screenwriting program called CeltX to using Scrivener, which changed everything. At first I fought with the tech and held onto my notebooks until I got an Apple MacBook. Flash drives were (are) still important but my reliance on pen and paper began to wane. The ease of Scrivener to change, rearrange, and import into different formats won me over. My notebooks began to change. Once where they contained the entire story they began to only hold ideas, outlines, and character bios. I became more comfortable working directly on the computer.
After finishing my Rebel’s Edge series, I started my newest project Future-Thrill. This time I have begun transcribing character, location, and plot details into the outline portion of Scrivener. The story is plotted out, but the process feels different. It is my first cyberpunk novel and I am challenging myself in forging ahead with the story then I plan to go back and change things, expand or contract different sections, and make sure my cyber slang and details match up across the whole manuscript. I still have a notebook on this project, but it is not full and only contains a complete overview and fragments and pieces. The funny thing is in place of my old pocket notepads I now use the Notes app on my phone. Time changes everything. I keep the past in a chest filled with sixteen years of notebooks and flash drives as I write into the future.