Is there a difference between “writing” and “typing”? As our world gets busier, we constantly look for shortcuts, and ways to make life more efficient. Sitting down at a computer and typing what we want to say seems to make sense and save time. But, from personal experience, I know most of those saved hours are wasted, sitting blankly in front of a computer screen when the words just won’t flow. And a lot of time is spent messing around online. You know, doing research…
One piece of advice that I have seen repeatedly over the years to get rid of writer’s block, is to just “set pen to paper”, not “set fingertips to keyboard”. So, after a particularly frustrating bout of writer’s block a while back, I tried it. I pulled out a blank notebook that I bought, because it was cute, and my equally cute purple pen, and started writing. And a crazy thing happened. It worked.
Writing is cathartic. It’s emotionally driven. It allows you to punctuate frustration, excitement, or anger, and it allows you to doodle silly pictures in the margins. It seems backwards. Keyboards are tidy, correctable, and efficient. Writing adds an extra step, kills trees, causes hand cramps, and wastes ink. But, writing is communication, and communication isn’t always tidy, is it? We blurt (or scribble) things we don’t mean, things that are permanent. We can cross them out, but they still remain. And once those things that we’ve kept inside are out, we are free. With a keyboard, we can delete things, and they are forgotten. When we write it out, even if we frantically scratch through it, the reminder stays. Writing becomes a form of personal journaling, not just reporting. Much more comes out than I publish on my blog, or send in an email, but I always feel so much more relaxed at the end of a writing session than a typing session. Writing heals.
It’s a bit of added weight, but I carry my cute notebook with me almost everywhere. And my purple pen, which is beginning to dry up. I have searched high and low for a replacement with no luck. One of my favorite childhood books is Harold and the Purple Crayon. It’s about a four year old boy who creates things, simply by drawing them with his purple crayon. I’ve never been lucky enough for a moon or house or boat to exist simply because I drew them (a reality that kind of made me sad as a kid, yes, I’m ashamed to admit that I tried repeatedly), but I have created emotions, thoughts, and conversations with my extra skinny purple crayon.
Inspiration can strike at anytime, and it’s nice to have my messy notebook and pen ready to scrawl thoughts down. There have been way too many times when a brilliant dialogue has rushed into my brain, and I knew without a doubt that I would remember it, and I did. For about five minutes. I know most of us, myself included, have a phone or tablet at our disposal with note taking capabilities, but keep a notebook! And make sure it’s cute! Or sophisticated, trendy, your favorite color, whatever inspires you. I promise it will make a difference! I would much rather have writer’s cramp than index finger cramp from tapping on a teeny screen. There is definitely something to be said for returning to the basics.