Today rounds out the last day of my personal little writer’s mini-workshop, on account of having three days in a row off from my regular, paying occupation. Everyone gave me incredibly great well-wishes of productivity, which makes me feel a little bad about having to report that, unless today is different, the productivity has been strictly focus on cleaning my apartment. Despite the lack of page and word counts, though, I’ve been able to do some thinking and I’ve managed to once again confirm something that I’ve always kind of known:
I am horrible at writing on a computer.
There. I said it. It’s out there; now that everyone knows my weakness, I can strive to ensure that it cannot be used against me. It’s interesting, because I see a lot of authors admitting that they actually only write on the computer, that the notebook and pen is a strange mystery to them that suggests an archaic time of too much work and the unnecessary destruction of natural resources. And I’m left shaking my head, because writing in a notebook is the only way I can write something new.
You see, with so many projects, I took a break from writing Battarack Girls long hand; I had a few pages written down, typed them up, and resolved to compose the rest of it on the computer to save time and separate it for the other stuff I was trying to write in my notebooks. It worked…for a few days, but then it just became really tedious, I felt incredibly disconnected with the work, and I realized that this approach was useless. I’ve tried it before, and it always ends with me losing the voice and the spirit of the original idea. Typing something up from something already written, that’s another story, but I absolutely cannot create fiction at a keyboard (unless it’s just a little flash or something, but even then, I often write it in a notebook first).
It’s a conundrum and a phenomenon I’ve thought about an awful lot. My writing has always been inextricably done in notebooks. The computer was for games and fun when I was growing up, while I could whisk a notebook up to my room or outside to scribble down stories. I kept two notebooks on my desk throughout high school and college: one for jotting notes, and the other for writing stories when the lectures got particularly boring. I have literal stacks of notebooks in my library, some of them full, others waiting in anticipation for the stories I will tell.
And then there’s just the physical act of writing. In pushing the pen across the page, depositing ink in a patterned form that is recognized as language, you create an undeniable connection with that word. I’m the type of person who writes everything down, to better remember it. The very act of writing instantly binds me to that word in one way or another. As much as I glow over my high words-per-minute count and how my slender, graceful fingers seem to be dancing when I create words with my keyboard, it cannot possibly hold a candle to that feeling of taking a blank page and covering it with ink, littering it with tales of your own design.
So here’s to the pen, the paper, the notebooks. Here’s to knowing I had a good day because my hands are covered in black smudges and lines. Here’s the the writers who tell their stories best when they crack open something that smells as beautiful as a new book, untouched paper, to the writers who don’t realize that their incomprehensible appreciation for trees is probably rooted in some subconscious guilt for destroying so many of them. Here’s to those suffering from the Curse of the Keyboard, and the beautiful things that transpire because of it.