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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Blackberry vs. The Library - A Writer's Tool Kit - Deb Nam-Krane

A year ago, I had a Blackberry. It let me be all over Facebook, Twitter and most of the rest of the Information Super Highway. I even wrote a number of blog posts from there- and not all of them were scattered and nonsensical. 

It was great- except for the way it removed me from my life. It was great that I could obsessively email, catch up on the news, update my statuses and tweet with it, but despite what the good people at Facebook and Google have to say, only so much of our lives are electronic. I like people watching on the train and listening to the stories I compose about where they're coming and where they're going. I like taking in the sights as I go walking with my children; maybe just the right word will finally come to me to describe spring in Boston (other than "rare") or the onset of autumn (other than "eternal"). I'm fortunate to live in a place filled with history and contradiction; I can better observe and learn from it live and in person than through research on my handheld. 

So I ditched the Blackberry and got a notebook and pen instead.

I jot down observations, make sketches of things I see and sometimes just clear my head with it. Sometimes I'll start drafting blog posts there or note revelations I have about my characters.

But when I go to write I'm happy to do it on a computer- in fact, I insist. (And while I can sit on the couch and edit, when I go to write large, new pieces I need to be sitting at a desk.) I love being able to use the internet for research, although I've found that I only get my initial ideas from what I find via a web search; if I want the real scoop, I need to get to a library and get a book.

So, for me, it's a notebook, a pen, a computer, a desk and a library- very 1990s.

Deb Nam-Krane

Born in New York City, raised in Cambridge and making a home in Boston, Deb Nam-Krane is thoroughly urban and her writing, whether on her blog or in her fiction, unapologetically reflects that. After hiding her interest in women's fiction and romance for decades, she came out of the closet in 2007.

When not writing fiction or being tugged on by her four homeschooled children, she can be found indulging her news and policy habit at Deb in the City . A history major, she was pleased to have the opportunity to write the History section of the upcoming Moon Thailand travel guide, to be released in late 2011.

Although she does her best to keep her blog focused on raising children in a city and within a budget, sometimes current events interfere.

She also blogs at the Jamaica Plain Patch and is a regular contributor to Moms Talk on the Jamaica Plain Patch and Literary Boston . When she can't strong arm an editor into publishing her book reviews, author interviews or thoughts on books in general, she takes matters into her own hands at Written By Deb . If you think she's a little bit obsessive about mythology, you might be right.

A longtime book reviewer, she is always looking for good things to read, but still prefers being able to hold a book and flip its pages.


  1. Thanks for guest blogging Deb,

    But I have to disagree with you on the ditching of the Blackberry (Or smartphones in general) My tool kit varies from location to location and what I use inside the office I simply can't cart around everywhere with me, not all of the time. While the main staple of my diet will always be a notepad and a dozen pens I like to have a music player for those times when I draw inspiration from music or require a little whitenoise, a camera: a picture tells a thousand words and your eyeball may only capture about a dozen of them if your short term memory fails on you, plus your email, facebook, twitter and other social media (whole author platform) is at your finger tips twenty four hours a day. I agree that they can be dangerous, I've almost been run over countless times on my forty five minute walk into town. But I wouldn't give my Blackberry up. In fact I've just upgraded it!

    Erin x

  2. I always wanted to be one of those people that listened to music while out walking or riding the train, but it just wasn't me. (The fact that I live in a city not known for its respect of pedestrian safety might have something to do with it.)

    Ah, you upgraded- does that have anything to do with the fact that these devices are possibly among the most fragile on the planet? I had a smartphone for about two and a half years- I easily went through three during that time. Believe me when I tell you that I was not performing stunts or jumping into large bodies of water while I carried it with me.

    Enjoy your Crackberry! ;-)


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