Friday, 12 January 2018

My Cheatin' Art -- Reb MacRath

It's never easy, putting an old love to pasture in order to romp with a new one. In fact, it's often ill-advised and sure to bring on a hailstorm of disapproval and contempt. We may be left with nothing when the new love walks or we wish that s/he would. I knew all this. But, even so, when the Muse whistled to me 'Time to change!' I said so long to my old love:

I'd used Moleskine notebooks for many years, in love with their various thoses:  those durable, finely bound covers...those handy back-end pouches...those premium quality pages...

I loved way the Moleskines fit in my coat pocket. And I loved the sense of belonging to a club of writers and artists who'd all been Moleskine lovers. In the course of writing a novel, I'd use one notebook for research and notes, then others for various parts of draft 1. I had no way of knowing my love would ever end.

And yet it did on 12/23 when I read Lev Butts' AE blog on last-minute Christmas gift ideas for writers. Included in the list were Arc Customizable Notebooks. 

Like the Day-Timer and Day-Planner binders, pages can be removed and/or added. So can a slew of accessories, including dividers with document slots, rulers, pen holders, etc. And, like the scheduling binders, Arc notebooks come in different sizes: 9x12 and 5-1/2 x8-1/2. So hats off to Day-Timer et al for coming first.

But for a number of reasons Arc is red-hot for those of us who still write longhand first drafts. These are the main reasons why I said goodbye to Moleskine:

     1) With the ring construction, the notebooks lie flat, unlike bulky Day-Timers. Not just flat, I can fold either side under for greater ease in typing my work.

     2) Better still, the expansion rings come in different sizes. My 5-1/2x8-1/2 Arc came with the smallest, 3/4", rings, holding up to 100 pages. I can buy 1" rings to hold 150 pages. Or the 1.5" rings will hold 200-plus pages.

     3) The covers and pages resist any tugging but can be removed easily with a steady peeling motion. If I like, I can detach the cover from my first notes and research binder...then load up bigger expansion rings with 150-200 pages. Then I can do this once again when my first draft requires more pages.

     4) When I remove the front and back covers, the pages are still snugly bound to the rings. I have two choices: Because of the relative low cost of the binders, I can buy a cheap poly cover to replace the leather one I like and still have a nicely done binder. Or: I can leave the finished pages, research or draft, attached to the rings. 

     5) The divider storage pockets are invaluable to me. Till now, I've had stuff everywhere--from newspaper clippings to index cards to notes made on the run. Now, though, I have spots to store the things I'll need through the first draft.

     6) I can add pages to chapters or in seconds move entire chapters around.

For those of you who work exclusively on computers, all this may seem like no big deal. But for Longhanders, a customizable notebook like Arc will bring many sighs of relief.

No matter how we do it, the big goal remains:

Please, share your tricks with us and tell us how you manage! As for me, it's time to go. I hear Hank Williams singing about his cheatin' art--er, heart. 


janedwards said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
janedwards said...

I iish I was that organised! I have many notebooks - but making sense of them is another matter!

janedwards said...

aargh - sorry about typos - its early!

Reb MacRath said...

Thanks, Jan. Too bad there isn't a correct your comment section. See? Luckily, I just caught my misspelling of comment a commet!

Leverett Butts said...

I am so glad my little post had such a lasting effect on your art!