What I Like – Writing Pleasures

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

author accoutrements

Jae over at Lit and scribbles blog gave me the idea for this blog when she began posting about things she likes in her writing life.

So here’s what I like about my writing life.

I like the accoutrements of writing, which means I keep the office supply store near me in business. My husband said to me last year that he never knew what to get me for my birthday. I answered that a gift card to Staples would be just fine. I’m still waiting, but my birthday is next month.

Pens – It doesn’t matter if I’ve gone to pick up scotch tape or copy paper, I always buy pens at the store. I like extra fine tips in black. I like a large grip. I’ve experimented with pens but always come back to my beloved Bics. I carry at least five in my purse; I have a case of pens in my briefcase; the several working spaces in my house contain tall glasses filled with pens. Nothing is more embarrassing than for a writer to be found without a pen (I know), so I’m never without.

a small sampling of my pens

Pencils – No. 2 yellow, please. I love my sharpened pencils with eraser added on top. I carry a box of them in my briefcase. This week I’m on the road, and I only hope I brought enough of them. My electric sharpener sits to the left of me when I’m at my desk. Nothing helps me beat writer’s block more than those slender pieces of wood.

my sharpened pencils

Notebooks/Journals/Legal Pads – I’m obsessed with the places I put my drafts and notes. As I sit in my hotel room writing this post, I see four different notebooks. I have two different small journals in my purse. At home, one shelf on my bookcase is devoted to all of my journals. I have a journal for every major trip I’ve taken. I’m happy I did this because this winter I hope to pull together my journal entries into a travel book. I keep one notebook for blog drafts and ideas. Another notebook is devoted to my writing life stats – blog, twitter, Facebook, book sales, and marketing ideas. Each novel I write receives its own journal. I keep a small journal on my current novel in my purse to jot down ideas. The other small purse journal holds my random thoughts and stolen bits of eavesdropping I exchange in when in public.

I keep a legal pad handy at all times.

legal pad unleashed

Combined with my sharpened pencils, this pad is the place I go to start new chapters or blog entries when I’m feeling blocked or trapped or overwhelmed. There’s something so simple and freeing about the scratch of lead on white lined paper that unleashes creativity in me. I don’t question why; I’m only grateful it works.

So to my dear beloved husband: If you’re reading this I guess you’re all set for my birthday, right?

And to my wonderful colleagues, what do you like about your writing life?


10 responses to “What I Like – Writing Pleasures”

  1. I used to have a thing/be quite particular about pens, pencils and notebooks. I used to write my stories in Mead notebooks, especially during high school. Unfortunately their quality (at least the last time I used one) has gone down in recent years. I got to the point where I could feel the paper and know how well the notebook would stand up to my writing. Pens too, I knew which brands would run out of ink quickest, which were especially leaky if used constantly. You really learn something about quality when you use it a lot.

    I gave up using them for the most part. Notebooks I hold onto for thinking out ideas, but I went digital a few years ago and never looked back. I just keep Word’s revision thing clicked on so I can see how things have changed if I ever want to go back. I also save different versions of my manuscripts when major changes are taking place.

    But I’ve still got some hard love for my notebooks. Thanks for posting this, it’s brought back a lot of good memories from my teenage writing days. I’m betting you too are a real connoisseur of quality in pens, pencils and notebooks/pads. What would you say are the best brands?


    • I stand by my Bics for pens. I always come back to them. Pentel isn’t bad either. They used to make my favorite rolling writer but then stopped. I like Avery’s legal pads with the thick covers on either side. The accoutrements I use for writing are for getting me started. The big work (time-wise) still takes place on my computer. I try to make sure everything I write in my notebooks goes somewhere electronically at some point. But I still find so much pleasure in the old way that I don’t think I’ll ever give it up totally. Glad the post brought back some good memories, Jae.


  2. I’m bad for pens, but I like Cross pens and they have to be roller ball pens. I have horrible handwriting and I can’t use fine tip, it gets too messy.

    As far as notebooks and journals, I use a Moleskine and have the Evernote app on my iPhone if I’m without my Moleskine, which isn’t often.

    Great post!


    • Brian, thanks for sharing your “likes.” That’s interesting about your handwriting. I’m assuming you can read it! I should have issued a warning with my pens, too. Sometimes when I fly the finer points will explode (leak). Not a pretty sight. Glad you stopped by.


  3. I love the allure of new notebooks and pens myself. I keep handwritten drafts of everything I write, whether I post it on my blog or not, so there’s a lot of pens and notebooks on my shelves and in my desk drawers.


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