My writing & blogging essentials
There is a raft of products out there for whatever project you are working on that the internet says are ‘must-haves’. It can be overwhelming and quite possibly lead to procrastination as you think ‘I’ll start my project once I’ve got ‘X’’
For writing I’m a big believer in keeping it simple. Just a notebook, pen and a laptop. And the laptop does not have to be an all-singing all-dancing one either.
However, if you’re writing a novel or lots and lots of Very Important Words or want to take lots of photographs and make films you need to think seriously about backing up on an external hard-drive. If you want to blog on a regular basis you might need a system for getting organised and if you’re editing your novel then you may also need a system for that.
There has been a lot of interest in my notebook system from this post about organising my writing month and week - which is what has prompted me to write about the equipment I use.
None of these items are sponsored (although Lemome if you’re reading this I am right here!) but I have linked them to Amazon where I get a teeny tiny bit of affiliate income (mere pence) if you click through that link - at no cost to yourself but is incredibly useful for me.
My lemome notebook is a thing of joy. I absolutely adore it. I’m currently on my second one (but I’m thinking of buying myself a couple more just in case they ever go out of stock - the horror).
The one I use is the GRID version although it also comes as dotted, ruled and blank pages.
The pages are gorgeously thick and, even better, the ink doesn’t soak through the page so that when you turn over you still have a crisp page to write on. Unlike a lot of other journals where I can only write on the right hand side because of the ‘soak through’ issue.
These Triplus Fineliner pens are just perfect when it comes to writing and planning in my notebook as well as editing my novel or essay once I’ve printed it off. I edit so much better with a pen. These pens just glide on the page, no scratchiness or going over a word a couple of times, so I can write as quick as I think.
Another useful item for my notebook is washi tape. I use it to make a page marking tag for my Monthly spreads. That way I go straight to that page when I open it using the tag. Or I use it to add extra pages (or a ruled card - see below) or even to cover private writing for when I photograph my notebooks for Instagram or this blog. My current washi tape is from Paperchase but I’ve just found this autumn tree one on amazon whilst researching this post and immediately popped one in my basket. Watch it appear on an Instagram photograph soon!
The binder clips fulfill a similar duty in terms of helping mark a page. These ones on amazon are similar to mine.
I purchased this Lamy pen well over two years ago and it is still going strong. It’s generous with the ink so makes it easy to write with. And is perfect in my lemome notebook as the ink doesn’t come through to the other side of the page.
These have a multitude of uses. I have used one with washi tape to add extra notes to a page in my notebook, I make daily reminders but mainly I use them for editing my novel. I’m currently using them to work out each scene within my novel. Simple, cheap but multi-purpose and incredibly useful.
So now we’ve done the ‘pretty yet useful’ objects I now want to get a little serious. Yes, I am going to talk to you about BACKING UP YOUR WORK. It is super important. You only have to spill coffee on your macbook and everything disappears. Or it just malfunctions for no reason. It happens. Technology is not one hundred percent reliable. And if you haven’t backed up your writing then it will be lost forever.
I’m also including here your blog posts. Don’t rely on Squarespace, Blogger or Wordpress to do that for you. Copy and paste your posts (with or without images - I save my images separately) into word then save them onto a drive as well. And/or email them to yourself. The same applies to your novel or your essays as well as your photographs and your films. Everything you create.
Word of warning. I took all of my photographs and films off my Macbook and put them on an external hard drive in order to free up space. (And you might find this too as you create more photographs and/or videos that your laptop becomes full). By putting them on the external drive I felt I had backed them up. But obviously I hadn’t because I still only had one copy of them - they’d been erased off my internal hard drive to create the space.
Then the external hard drive malfunctioned. I was horrified - but I might be able to get someone to extract the data. For £££’s obviously.
The lesson learned - always have two copies.
At the moment I have:
This hard drive saves all my information on my laptop through the inbuilt Time Machine software on my laptop. This means, I believe (and in layman’s terms) it essentially saves everything you have on your computer on a regular basis. Emails, files, photographs - everything that is on your laptop hard drive. So if the entire laptop crashes - I have a back up of exactly what is on there.
This hard drive I use to save my photographs and videos on. They take up a LOT of space. After my drama though I also need a system where I back this external hard drive up. I’m thinking of getting a non-portable Hub but currently awaiting my son’s instructions (he knows far more than me about the techy bits of kit).
I also have this plugged in and drag and drop items into it as and when so my Macbook doesn’t get too clogged with storage. It is just over £10 so is a great option if you just have a few files to back up.
So that’s what I use on a daily basis. The external hard drives can be expensive so a small USB stick might suffice until you can afford them. Just remember, if you take your work off your laptop to create space, make sure you have it in at least two other places!