In 2016, I joined a writers group so I could flex my old dream into maybe more than a hobby. Writing.
The long-term dream is still there, but the skill is not much more than a hobby. I’ve published one short story and sold another (still not published, but sold, I cashed the check).
Over the years I’ve tried a couple of methods to improve my writing, workshops, books on writing, conferences. What seems to always get in the way is flow.
Flow is the state when words (or images, ideas, code, what have you) just come unbidden. In 2016 I used a desktop PC. It was in my study. Using it was a ritual, Because I needed to go to my study, it was writing. That was fine, except for when it wasn’t. Then it was a chore. The pressure of the page, of the screen, was palpable. And it was easy to research something on Wikipedia, rather that write.
I bought software, hearing that it helps. It did. I’m a big fan of Scrivener now. It helps me organize. Then I needed (and by need, I mean want) a way to write when away from my desktop. So I bought a laptop. Which, as fate would have it, is wicked heavy.
So then I bought a keyboard for my iPad (which I already had) so I could be super portable. All of these contributed to my toy collection, but didn’t help with the wiki searches. And it didn’t help with the resistance. Call it writers block, or a fickle muse. Either way, the keyboard was like a barrier.
I carried my lap top and keyboard with me, but the idea of setting it up felt like a, ritual rather than a natural event. Which brings me to the subject of this post.
I know, it took me long enough.
My new pen. A X-mas gift, it has has been amazing. Last week, I set aside a couple of hours every day to write in the morning (on my PC or iPad). Then, every day, I’d struggle to squeeze out 350 words. At the end of the week, I tried my new toy, and 1200 words come flying in an hour.
Not sure why, not sure I care.
I imagine that it comes from the deeper, earliest learning. Words come from pencils, and pens. They are the basic tools that I used until I became an adult. I didn’t learn to type till I was in college. From then I it took me another decade till I learned to touch type (I know I know).
By then, touch typing equaled work, writing white papers and justifications for capital investment, logistics strategies and inventory placement plans. I learned not to write while Touch typing, but how to edit and re-write for business. So the pen… the pen is for putting words to thoughts. It is for the draft (very rough draft). Because you can’t go back and edit as you go. You have to just keep on going.
This pen is particularly good because it saves what you write to a pdf. And then you can use OCR to get a text version. The page breaks suck, and the accuracy is as good as your hand writing, but its here. And in the end, when you can get these 576 words in 24 minutes (including getting a refill al Starbucks) then maybe there’s something to this pen.