This past month I have experienced what we all fear: a broken computer. The effects of which equal waiting for the roommates to be done with their’s so I may quickly check my email, having no idea what’s happening in the news and, of course, with it a general lack of writing.
How many of us (writers, that is…) have ignored our work when faced with a life without a key board and screen? In spite of the love we all have for journals, sometimes it seems easier, faster and more productive to type out our thoughts rather than write.
But can’t it also be more restrictive? We delve into media, social networking and time wasting, and end up ignoring the world around us. The computer becomes our window to the world instead of an actual window, which might provide more inspiring sights. And discover the simple pleasure that arises when a writer actually puts pen to paper.
In the wake of my computer, I cracked open a long ignored journal and picked up the forgotten pen and got to writing: a truly wonderful experience. I was more connected to my work than I had previously been. I felt that I understood the words better as I used my hand to form them. The paper was more forgiving (since I didn’t have those glaring red and green lines underneath all my hurried mistakes!). The process of editing was more enjoyable as well. Forget cut and paste! I couldn’t make the words or sentences go away and instead witnessed the process of editing right there with cross outs, arrows, underlines and inserts.
Here was the proof; a handwritten record of the time that I had spent on the piece. The text seemed more alive than ever before. I actually created something. So my advice is: pretend you’re computer is broken! Grab a journal and go outside, or to a coffee shop, or a bar. At the very least you won’t be tempted to listen to music, or surf the web and hey, what do ya know–you might actually write something! 😉
[Brandon’s Note: A little something extra that Thomas emailed me today: an explanation as to Why You Learn More Effectively By Writing Than By Typing.]