Tools of the Writer’s Trade



One of the things I want to do over the course of my Kickstarter campaign is involve my community of backers in the content creation of the book itself. I’ll be asking for your input at certain points which I’ll incorporate in some fashion into the book itself, from using input as art (stay tuned for details on that) to using it as content (either in the book, exclusively in the ebook version, or on the companion website).

Tonight, I’d like to get your input on the writing tools that you use. Even if you’re not a professional writer, I bet the majority of you write down ideas, lists for planning purposes, project notes, and the like.

I recorded a Boing Boing Gweek podcast with Mark Frauenfelder (and comic book writer Jim McCann) last week which will air on July 31st. On the show, we talked about the analog and digital tools we use as writers to capture our thoughts. For years, I’ve used Cahiers, those pocket notebooks that Moleskine sells. The night before the Gweek recording, I’d just started my 10th volume. I go through about one and a half notebooks every year. (You can see some of my collection in the images above.) I’m also a big fan of the cloud-based note service,, and make daily use of their mobile app. I use their audio note feature to record ideas I have in the middle of the night (I post some of these to my FB page as a series of “Night Thoughts”). Being half asleep (sometimes mostly asleep, and frequently still in a dream fugue), these are often utterly bizarre, but that makes them so much more entertaining. One night, I felt it important enough to get out my phone and go to Evernote to record: “Lucite cigarettes.” Believe me, I have no idea either!

So, what tools do you use? I’d love to know. Please post your list of tools in the comments below, why you like them, and even link to photos. I love seeing ACTUAL tools (not product shots), with the humble scars of their use visible and celebrated.

Published by Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

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