Have We Lost the Art?

Have We Lost the Art?
Image provided by
Kaushik Narasimhan @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaushiknarasimhan/

Back in the dark ages before computers were born, when I was still a kid, I kept all of my writing and writing ideas in spiral notebooks. I kept them hidden under worthless school papers in the top drawer of my small desk that I had in my bedroom. Those were the days when I had hopes and dreams of being a famous writer, a musician, the perfect mom, and anything else I found exciting and new.

Soon those hopes and dreams had to be put aside. At the time, I thought that there would be little chance that I would be rekindling the flame behind those childhood ideas of my future.

Many years later, when I finally got a PC and discovered the world of the Internet, I started thinking about some of those hopes and dreams — in particular, the idea of writing. At the time, I clinged to the notion that a person must have a spiral notebook, that nothing else would do the job. I would write out my ideas in one spiral, and do the actual writing in another, copying what I had written onto a document file in the PC. It was a little tedious, to say the least.

It was several years later when I decided to entertain the thoughts of different options for writing. That’s when I got a blog at WordPress.Com. I learned how to copy and paste so that I could quote others in my articles with greater ease. I stopped using the spiral for all of my writing, and began to use Word with its spell-check and grammar-check features. Of course, these features miss things and make some generalizations that need to be considered and dealt with, but they do speed up the editing process. Still, is this really writing?

Since those days of my first blog, things have changed for me. Mobility issues prevent me from gallivanting around town as I used to do, so the spiral notebooks sit in a drawer behind my desk chair unused with the pages looking quite tawny in color. (The drawers have clear sides so that I can see what’s in there.) Sometimes I feel guilty when I look upon the contents of that drawer.

I, now, use a folder within my PC system to store all that I ‘write’. This also includes my writing ideas, which I keep on a simple text file document. All sit neatly at my fingertips. Yet, I sometimes miss the hand with pen to paper contact; the exhilaration of writing seems to get lost at times with the keyboard.

(Notice the quote marks around the word write in the paragraph above. Is it writing if you’re actually typing? I’m sure there are thousands, maybe millions who would say, “Of course, it’s writing!” Yes, I know this, but writing means putting pen to paper. It’s the act of making each character to form a word.)

Sometimes I wonder if I should go back to the old way, the spiral notebook and pen. Getting back to the core of writing using pen and paper may do me some good. As you text to your friends, email to your relatives, and converse by timeline on Facebook and Twitter, do you think that maybe you’ve lost the art of writing?


12 Replies to “Have We Lost the Art?”

  1. It’s only VERY recently that I decided to take vacation journal notes on my iPad. It used to always always be pieces of paper from hotel rooms or a notebook that I’d bring. My husband would laugh at me, but I told him, “These are the quick notes that I’ll use to later type of the journal.” He couldn’t understand it. I loved pen and paper. I miss it.


    1. Ahhh, vacation — I almost have forgotten what that is. It’s been nine years since Hubby and I have done any traveling for pleasure. This fall we had planned to go through some of the Appalachian Mountains to see the colors but it never has really evolved into the trip. I wonder if I would have remembered to take a spiral and a pen or pencil if we had gone.


  2. As a counselor, I dictated my reports. No writing there. Now that I blog, which I deem as writing, I am able of remembering those concepts, as I have been blessed with somewhat of a photographic memory. Thank God. I used to love putting pen to paper, but my penmanship became so atrocious, that I couldn’t read my own hand writing. I think I do understand your point of view. My dad was not happy, until he had put his ideas on a piece of paper, using a fountain pen. Wonder if the younger generation knows what kind of a pen that is. Enjoyed your post. Good read. Blessings.


    1. I doubt that most kids know what a fountain pen is. I’m not even sure of they know was a pencil is. I have noticed that the iPad and Tablet now have a feature so that a person can write on the screen. Maybe it will reintroduce the art of writing. Don’t feel too bad about your penmanship. Mine has become sloppy too. However, when I really focus, I can make my hand behave. Being a lefty doesn’t help matters but I’ve always had that problem.


  3. I’m a pencil person. I think it’s because I can rub out when I want to. I hate biros because they smudge but I love felt tipped pens for writing cards or thank-you notes.
    I love my MacBook Pro and my i-pad but I still like to keep a paper calendar on my wall rather than an electronic one on the lap top.
    And… don’t tell anyone… I bought a Personal Organiser the other day; guess I’m a ‘Writing Downer’ at heart. 😉


    1. Yes, I have to admit that I also prefer the pencil, especially the mechanical one. There isn’t any time wasted sharping the lead. I like the ballpoint pen for those items like greeting cards and letters going through the regular post mail.

      Because of short-term memory loss, I have a wall calendar and one on the desktop of my PC. The one on the PC has the alerts for appointments and such. Repetition helps with the memory loss.

      I’ve thought about buying a Day Planner but I don’t think I’d use it enough to warrant the cost. My days are spent cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking, ‘writing’, and keeping in touch through the Internet. There isn’t enough there to plan really.;)


  4. I do both. I have this cute app on my iPad that sounds like a real typewriter for quick journaling. I also have paper journals for various things. If I need to remember something, I write it on paper. Using several senses helps it sink in better. 🙂


    1. You’ve hit it on the head, Barbara. There’s something about the connection going from the brain to the eyes to the hand to the paper that makes the experience rewarding for me. To me, this is what feels like art that can’t be felt when typing. 😉


  5. I am a pencil and paper girl, myself. I have written and rewritten many thoughts, and most recently my book, in notebooks. I find the creativity flows better on actual paper versus the virtual stuff. I have no idea why, but it just works better for me this way, although I am a fan the real book, with pages and everything and have no use for the e-book, so maybe I am just weird. lol 🙂


    1. If you are weird, I guess I am too. Although I do have some books as e-books, most of those are non-fiction, technical, the textbook type. If I want to read a book for pleasure, it’s much better if it has the actual paper pages. I really should try writing my stories with pencil and page again. Chances are that I’d feel more by doing it, and, therefore, my work would probably be better.


  6. Glynis, I agree that a PC is easier to copy, paste, edit. But often I like to find a sunny spot, get a clipboard with nice lined paper, and a bunch of sharpened pencils. No blunt leads for me.


    1. [… a bunch of sharpened pencils.] This is why I like the mechanical pencils. I do, however, have to have a separate eraser because the one that comes with that type of pencil is more or less worthless. 😉


Please comment on this post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s