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?