Writing System 2016


This post describes the process I'm using to create this blog.

I like writing, words, their meanings, sentences and, especially, reading. I try to write every day and, to keep things interesting, I pay attention to the process. This includes reading about how other writers do it and experimenting with equipment that I find appealing.

The process and the equipment create a context. Context alters perception and the medium is (or affects) the message.



Typing on computers is secondary to handwriting but essential to publishing. Touch-typing is essential.


Writing by hand is a context/medium that underpins the whole process.

The Problem

I fill up notebooks with thoughts. They go on a shelf and once a year come back down to be read and then I am bored because they are repetitive fragments that don't really go anywhere.

To change this, I needed a writing and editorial process.

The Solution

Reading about other writers' processes lead me to a few ideas that appealed. These are the inspiration:

[… when a] draft is finished, I put the manuscript away for a while, a week, a month, sometimes longer. When I take it out again, I read it as coldly as possible, then read it aloud to a friend or two, and decide what changes I want to make and whether or not I want to publish it.

Truman Capote [5]

The pattern of the thing precedes the thing. I fill in the gaps of the crossword at any spot I happen to choose. These bits I write on index cards until the novel is done. My schedule is flexible, but I am rather particular about my instruments: lined Bristol cards and well sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.

Vladimir Nabokov [6] [7]

In his book How Shall I Tell the Dog, Miles Kington references box-files in which he'd placed various notes and beginnings under various subject headings. He also mentions that whenever he dipped in and saw a promising section heading it would turn out to be empty.

And so I mixed all that together and now have this:

A picture of my notes on this writing system.

A picture of my notes on this writing system.

  1. Neovim
  2. Pilot Capless
  3. Kaweco Lilliput
  4. A4 Spiral Pad, Dot Grid
  5. Truman Capote, Paris Review, 1957
  6. Vladimir Nabokov, Paris Review, 1967
  7. Vladimir Nabokov's Cards