Over the last few months, I’ve been writing more than I have in many years. While I mean “writing” in the sense of putting together a coherent piece, I also mean “writing” in the sense of not typing in a word processor. I own a copy of Microsoft Word and I’ve used it for many years. However, the bulk of my blog entries have their origins in spiral notebooks, the same way I used to write back in high school. I can type faster than I can write and my handwriting rivals any doctor’s in terms of legibility. Writing out my writing would seem to be an impediment to the creative flow, but its very difficulties make it essential.
It’s too easy to write in Word. It’s especially easy to start writing something, realize it’s going nowhere, delete it all and start again. There have been days where I sit at my computer with a blank page in Word. I type for an hour or more and end up with… a blank page in Word.
I write in pen; there is no undo function in my notebooks. My rough drafts can be really rough. A lot of times I use the page to sketch out an idea or list witty remarks that I can season my blogs with at a later date. Some drafts have a lot of good words in them, just in the wrong order. I have arrows directing me from one paragraph to another with circles around sentences that need to be somewhere else. My best writing will have a few cross-outs here and there. Ninety percent of it may end up in my blog. But even my worst writing has its place. Sometimes it’s to remind me what not to do. I will be typing up a piece based on my paper version and begin to second guess my word choice or turn of phrase. In these cases my marked up drafts are worth the extra effort; I can see if I have an original idea or perhaps I’ve already gone down that particular road and found it a dead end. So – for now – I’ll keep writing my writing on paper and leave the typing (and the spell check) to Microsoft Word.