Erin Lausten

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Why is my pen dry?

Posted by erinlausten on December 7, 2010

Words written: 40,065 Currently Reading: Writer’s Digest Jan 2011 issue

I had an interesting thought. Ok, so I think all my thoughts are interesting, but this one is much more interesting than usual, so I want to share. Where do I get this high level of confidence (arrogance)? Practice. Lots and lots of practice. If you fake it long enough eventually you start to believe it.

Anyway, that’s not the thought I had, if you catch me getting off task, just reach over and slap me (feel free to use the comments section to do so). Anyway, again, I digress. So, this thought comes in reaction to my last post, when I reacted to my reaction to losing computer access. So many reactions, I think it may be time for some proactive behavior. Anyway. AGAIN, I digress. (just a little scatter brained today, I apologize, it will get better, I promise).

Here’s the thought. When faced with no computer access, I immediately start to think of how I can continue to write until the crisis has been averted. And I thought “simple, just pick up a pen and paper and write like you used to”. Yeh, like I used to in high school. Ah the good old days of finger callouses and cramps; back when my handwriting was beautiful, and my prose was… not nearly as awesome as I thought it was. But I was angsting! I angsted with the best of them! I had so much to say that had never been said before! Ok, yeh, so not the truth, but at the time I thought it was.

So, as I am staring at my new paper weight (computer), I think to myself. No big deal, get out a notebook and pen and start writing. And it hits me. I haven’t written that way in over a decade. My brain doesn’t flow to that rhythm any more. I can’t function with out spell check, backspace, and undo (and redo, thank you, thank you for redo!).

It’s not so much that I am lazy, but that I have trained myself to work differently. I can write a sentence twice and not get lost. I can type as fast as I think (well not quite, but a lot faster than I could hand write). And if I am not quite sure about a section I can highlight it and come back later. Sure I can do a lot of that in ink, but it works easier digitally. At least for me.

What does this mean? Does this mean I have become a slave to the machine? That should I lose all access I would never be able to write again? That my muse would go up in smoke? Uh, no. That’s just silly. I could, of course, retrain myself to write a different way. The brain is remarkable that way, able to learn, and relearn, and adapt to just about any situation. I just find it interesting that I have learned a whole new way of writing, without really noticing the full extent that it has changed.

Oh, and my computer’s back up and running good as new. Crisis averted and back to a big push in my writing. Can’t stay bogged down in the middle of my story for too long after all!

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4 Responses to “Why is my pen dry?”

  1. william kendall said

    I can relate!

    My handwriting was never beautiful… and I’ve gotten very lax in keeping up with it.

  2. It’s a little weird to realize that the only real handwriting I do any more is in post it note form. 3M must still be making a bundle…
    -Erin

  3. lifeafter39 said

    I seem to get a lot of great ideas on the verge of sleep. Since keeping a computer beside the bed it too cumbersome, I use a pen and pad. When I started doing that it felt like a dusty part of my brain was being reawakened. I wouldn’t write a whole novel that way, but it feels good every once and a while.

  4. Eve said

    With all our technology today, you probably have one less thing to worry about.

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