Friday, February 12, 2010

Warren Ellis's Mobile Idea Foundry

Or "portable business kit" for writers:

My business runs on four things, really. A netbook, a smartphone, a handheld email device and notebooks. Currently, that’s the 901, the iPhone 3GS, a Blackberry Curve and a pile of Moleskines and Field Notes. The phone and the email device have to be two different devices, because having to answer the phone when you’re in the middle of typing an email or note is, frankly, fucking annoying. (I used to work on an all-in-one handheld, a Visor or a Treo with a foldaway keyboard that I could write on as well as do email and take calls. That got annoying. Convergence is a nice idea, but not for me.

(I’d add in a fifth, an mp3 player. I thought a moment ago that was non-essential business kit, and then I tried imagining travelling without one.)

Obviously they all serve different purposes, but they are all in fact bent to the same purpose, the essential purpose of writing: getting the idea down before you forget it. Doesn’t matter if the idea’s crap. Doesn’t matter if it’s not immediately useful. Doesn’t matter if it’s half-formed. Get it down. Jot it in a text file on your computer and toss it in a folder called Loose Ideas. Thumb it out into a note file on your phone. Scribble it into a notebook (in block caps so you can read it later, if you’re me). Record it as a voice memo (I’m working with someone right now who sets his phone to voice-recording in the car and spitballs ideas into it as he drives, hits send to email it out to me when he parks, just so he doesn’t lose the ideas).

If you don’t have some kind of kit for capturing ideas, even if it’s a 50p reporter’s notebook and a pencil from the local shop for local people, you’re doing it wrong.

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