In Writing Tools I have told you a little about fountain pens, rollerball pens, and ballpoint pens. I mentioned that for a while I've tried using pencils only but eventually I ended up using disposable pens. The thought of going back to rollerball pens, however, didn't let me go. Perhaps because I hadn't been too happy about my own handwriting after all?
I went shopping the other day. The stationary department seemed to magically draw me close to its aisles. I started looking at, you've guessed it, pens. And there it was! I thought, Oh, look at that beauty! Immediately I took a picture and sent it per express (no problem in the age of social media and messengers) to my hubby. I wanted to have his opinion about it, especially since it cost more than what I was willing to spend for a new pen. No reply. You see, while I was shopping, he had gone to the gas station to fill up the car and to have it cleaned. I continued putting the groceries into the cart until I saw my husband coming into the store. I made my way briskly toward him and told him all about the pen that I have seen over in the stationary department. "Let me see it," he said, and we walked to where all the writing materials are found. I'm so grateful that my husband has said: "Let's buy it. You need a good pen to do all of your writing."
So this is it: my new Parker Fountain Pen. It's slim, light, fun to write with, and the ink dries well and therefore does not smear easily. I'm quite happy with it.
Do you have a favorite pen or pencil to write with? Do you prefer blue or black ink when writing with a ballpoint / rollerball / fountain pen?
Last week I mentioned that I had come across Write From the Bible by Glenn White. While working my way through it, I was introduced to the "Inductive Bible Study Method" (Read more on that at The Christian Homemaker's Blog). And, thanks to the course, I started to organize my writing notes.
In my last post I said that Glenn suggested to create an index page. It should have four columns: date, Scripture, title, and page (pages of the journal are to be numbered ahead of time). For the first few years it has worked out well. However, at some point my notes started to outgrow this way of organizing. I wanted to find everything at the same place:
Saving my Journal Notes
I prefer to have my texts at hand all the time, no matter if I'm online or offline. That's why I'm using a USB drive and not a kind of a cloud to save my files to. So for me the best way to file my diary pages and the index was to go digital. I created an .ods (OpenOffice Calc) document which has three sheets: one is sorted by date, another is sorted by Scripture, and another is sorted by keywords; all three sheets have columns named: date, Scripture, Title, D/B/S (daily, Bible study, sermon), keyword/s. I also keep the Bible study and sermon notes in that same folder. Inside the Journal Folder there are: 12 folders named year-month (numerals), my templates (diary, Bible study, sermon notes), and the Journal Index.
Bible Topical & Quotes
There are more folders found on this USB drive. One of them is called Notes Bible Topics in which I keep texts on topics like Ambassadors for Christ, Chosen, Crown of Life, Gladness, Joy, etc. Whenever I come across verses in my Bible that mention a topic I want to know more about I copy and paste the verses and title the pages accordingly. Another folder that is on this USB drive is called A-Z Quotes which contains verses of hymns, quotes by more or less famous people, and parts of Bible verses (e.g. parts that I could use as a title).
File on the Bookshelf
I like to go through my journal notes and prefer them to be offline, additionally to be off-computer. That's what I've got a file on the bookshelf for. I organize my notes by months in there. I print out the most recent index now and then to keep it at hand and so that I can find specific texts more quickly.
A few years back I stumbled across a course called Write From the Bible. Such a fine text, written by a man called Glenn White who used to be the editor of WriteToInspire.com The author died a few years ago, the course and its website no longer exist.
Write From the Bible introduced me to the "Inductive Bible Study Method" (more on that in another post). It has also helped me to get started in organizing my writing notes. However, I needed to improve my own system.
Glenn suggested to keep a writing journal and to create an index for it. I followed his advice and began to write down my notes into a copy book and have done so for a couple of years now. However, I have struggled to come up with a good filing system. Over these past years I have been keeping the journals on a bookshelf at first but then I have put them in a decorative storage box. I have failed, though, creating a table of contents for it. Therefore I'm not able to quickly find a text whenever I'm looking for a specific one.
Glenn suggested to write the journals by hand. I'm must faster in typing my notes. That's why since about two years I'm not only collecting handwritten but also digital texts which makes it even harder to organize all of my notes. Oh dear!
I had to come up with a system that would help me find what I'm looking for without having to spend hours searching for it. Because I already have a fairly good way of filing the digital notes I thought I could come up with a similar one for my copy books. While working at it I discovered that I need to combine the two instead of having two separate ones. But how? My handwritten journals are in an A5 (5.8" x 8.3") format while the printed (typed) journals are in an A4 (8.3" x 11.7") format. In case you ask, no I do not want to mess with layouts if I can avoid it. I thought Why not merge the two and have one and the same format? So that's exactly what I did.
I'm quite happy with my new system. Curious? Then please do come back next Wednesday when I will tell you more about it.
In primary school I was required to write with a fountain pen. Later on, while in high school, I felt that fountain pens are more for little students so I switched and began writing with rollerball pens. For a good number of years, though, I had forgotten all about these writing tools. Once I entered the workforce I started using regular ballpoint pens.
As a writer I have gone through many, many pens and never bumped into one I really felt amazingly comfortable using it. Well, yes, I bought a few branded ones and they were nice. However, as soon as I needed refills my enthusiasm in using them usually dropped. Perhaps because I had been using the cheaper refill kind?
I noticed that the disposable ones are quite handy especially when taking them along. Sometimes they keep “disappearing” and then I have to find a replacement for the pen. For a while I've tried writing the reporters' way, using pencils. I like that. On the other side, the handwriting is fading off the paper more easily. So that didn't go too well.
A while ago I've bought a box of pens for our Bible study. We ended up not using them because somebody else brought along different ones and most of the people ended up bringing their own pen anyway. Now I'm using these pens while handwriting my journal and I'm quite pleased with them as they do not leak nor does my writing look more like scribbling (which, for some unknown reason, happens when I use certain types of pens). Still, I'm thinking of getting back into using rollerball pens again – but the ones that have a good ink inside of them, an ink that dries quickly and does not easily smear.
Say, what's your favorite writing tool? What do you use to jot down your notes? Do you prefer to write by hand or do you rather type your first drafts?
What do writers do?
Writers write. However, that's not the only thing they do. Writing an article or a book involves much more than that:
> brainstorming and mind mapping (coming up with ideas and organizing them)
> reading, a lot by the way, e.g. to study the craft of writing, reading for pleasure but also for research purposes
> researching (interviewing, searching, reading texts)
> translating if capable of and if research material is in another language
> writing (by hand and/or typing)
> proofreading (checking grammar and spelling and syntax)
> editing (more in-depth kind of proofreading, e.g. checking context and the details/facts of the book for accuracy and making sure that all parts work together and are set in (meaningful, clear) order.
The hardest part of writing...
This can vary from writer to writer, of course. I find guarding the writing time the hardest to do.
I have a picture frame standing on my desk which reminds me to focus on m reasons for writing. Roughly, this is what it says:
Write for the glory of God. Do not write to capture readers to read what you have to tell them. Write what God says in His Word. Write the Truth.
Write tight. Nobody has time to waste.
I'm eager to follow the LORD and it takes continuous checking from my side to see if I'm still on the right track. Often enough I'll have to make more or less minor changes to my way of doing things. This doesn't always come easy to me, for I love it whenever my life is straight forward, going according to plan. How about you?
Most of the time life will not go like clockwork, though. Also, whenever things are way out of line with God's Word, then we have to let go completely to step onto a new, a much better path.
This is truly a big challenge to me, I'll have to admit. There are many days when I'm ashamed to look at my framed writing goals. I know I have missed the mark so many times before and I don't want to miss it again. You see, even though I want to, in my own strength, I'm not able to put these words into action. It takes God to make this happen. Realizing this, I often cling to the words found in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Welcome to my blog. This is where you will find future posts about home education and the writing life of Mirjam Fels. I used to be with Wordpress but due to some disappointments with them lately I decided not to extend the plan I had signed up for over there and not to renew my domain which will run out in the next few days. Instead, I'm starting this new blog and hope you will find the upcoming posts interesting and helpful.
I'm also blogging at my fairly new website called The Christian Homemaker and I'm writing two blogs about Life in Ireland, one in German and one in English.
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I'm a helpmeet, homemaker and writer, born and raised in Germany but now living in the Sunny South East of Ireland.