I spent a lot of time recently looking at note taking apps. I read all about “building a second brain” and created a whole load of processes to support doing that. I had this idea that I could use those same processes to support writing fiction. It was all setup and working and I stuck with it for about two days before I threw it all in the bin.
The thing is, and this is a truth that I’ve been fighting against for probably five or more years, note taking isn’t naturally how I work. Sure, I can do it but I’m fighting against my inclination.
Digital tools work in a specific way and if you use them that’s the way you have to work. As I found, just having the app creates a requirement to do a process. I had a note taking app, so I needed to take notes.
Before I started down the digital note taking route, I was keeping a paper notebook in my pocket, but I didn’t use it very often and I thought that was proof that paper notebooks didn’t work for me. But the truth is, I used it the amount that I naturally take notes without being prompted. When I switched to a digital system it created an artificial use requirement.
It took me a long time to realise that I don’t need to constantly be taking notes and that I shouldn’t feel guilty when days go by with nothing new being added. I have never had trouble coming up with ideas for stories so there is no need to build this system.
I’m in the final act of a new novel. When I was writing first drafts on a computer this stage always felt like a race. Both because I wanted to be done with the story and because I have never felt very comfortable writing endings. The result usually felt very rushed and always took a lot of work in edits to improve it. The ending was where I would add the most words.
I have been writing first drafts longhand for a while now, but this is the first novel. The process of writing longhand means that I am forced to go more slowly and think about what I’m writing. I’m hoping it means that the end result is better.
But that’s not the main benefit I’m finding by writing longhand. As far as I’m concerned the best part of doing it this way is how much more I’m enjoying it. I feel more connected to the story and I think that’s going to mean the story is better.
I’m probably really late to the party on this but over the weekend I downloaded a new book on the Kindle (Soul Music by Terry Pratchett) and decided to download the audiobook as well. I’d seen the promotion a few times in the past but for some reason never given it much thought. Now I can’t believe what I’ve been missing.
I have two young children so don’t get a lot of time during the day to sit down and read, but on a Sunday there are chores that need doing. Normally I listen to music or podcasts but yesterday I listened to my book and now I am 25% through it.
This feels game changing. I can easily see myself doing this a lot more, especially where the cost to add the audiobook is as low as £2.99 as it was for this one.
At the same time though I am torn. Amazon isn’t the kind of company I want to throw a lot of support behind, which is one of the reasons that I keep selling my books wide, even though I could probably make more by going exclusive. But this service is something that I don’t think anyone else is offering. Even on Kobo, where they sell digital books and audiobooks, I am not aware that they sync up.
If other retailers are going to compete with Amazon then this is the kind of thing they need to look at, but not just this. It’s crazy that Amazon, who almost have a monopoly on the eBook market, are the ones to innovate in this way. It’s the kind of service that I would switch to access.