Writing On the Go
This article was originally published in June 2020 over on Substack. I've republished it here since I don't know how much longer my old Substack newsletter will be around.
Places are starting to open up this summer and you’ll probably be itching to get out of the house. I know I’ve been looking forward to spending my writing time in my favorite coffee shops. The smell of beans brewing, the din of inane conversations at the next table, burr grinders burring, espresso makers gurgling – I’ve missed it all.
If you find yourself out on the go again and you need to either work on your WIP or jot down a few notes while waiting in line, I’ve got some recommendations for getting your writing done wherever you are, no matter if you’re an analogue traveler or a digital nomad.
You should always keep a notebook on you. Something small you can tuck into your back pocket or slip into your bag. I’m a huge fan of Field Notes, which offers a yearly subscription of new, limited edition notebooks each quarter. Or, you can just buy what you need when you need them.
I’d also highly recommend Write Notepads and the Baronfig Pocket Vanguard notebooks, as they work very well with either pencil or pen, including many fountain pens.
(Use this link to get $10 off your Baronfig purchase. I’ll also get a $10 reward.)
For those of you who fill a notebook fairly regularly, Log+Jotter offers a subscription for as low as $5 per month. Each month, they’ll send you a new pocket notebook with the paper style of your choice (blank/graph/dot grid), featuring a unique and stylish cover design.
Pro Tip: For shower writers, check out the notebooks from Rite in the Rain, which are designed to work in all kinds of harsh environments.
When it comes to pocket pens, there are three models I stand behind:
- Fisher Space Pen: It’s sturdy, comes in several colors, it writes anywhere and any way (including underwater and upside down), and can fit in almost any pocket. I carry one with me everywhere.
- Kaweco Sport: If you’re looking for a compact fountain pen you can trust in your pocket, look no further than the Kaweco Sport. It comes in a variety of materials and colors to fit any mood or budget.
- Pokka Pens Pokka Pens are a cheaper alternative to the Fisher Space Pen, coming in at about $9 per pen. Like the Kaweco Sports, they’re available in many colors and you can even buy combo packs that include notebooks from Rite in the Rain, killing two birds with one pocket-sized stone.
You might have a Bluetooth keyboard for your computer or tablet at home, but I like to carry one in my bag, which I use for writing on my phone. I particularly enjoy this trifold model from iClever, which unfolds into a perfectly capable, albeit slightly cramped keyboard that I can knock out a few hundred words on if I don’t have my iPad or my computer with me.
(Unfortunately, this seems to only be available on Amazon, but if you can find it elsewhere, I encourage you to buy it there instead.)
Drafts is a quick-capture note-taking app meant for getting in and getting out. When you open it up on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, it greets you with a blank page for you to jot down whatever you want and get back to what you were doing.
The next time you open it, you’ll get a fresh, new page. Your notes are synced across all your devices and the app comes with a ton of actions for processing them. For example, you can compose an email in Drafts and push it to your phone’s email client in a new compose window. You can also publish your drafts to your Wordpress blog with the push of a button.
For TextExpander users, it has native support for all your snippets.
Use the above link to get 20% off your subscription.
FYI: This article was composed entirely in Drafts.
No matter where you go now or in the future, you should be well-prepared to record those brilliant ideas or bang out a chapter of your WIP with the help of the tools I’ve outlined above.