In the world of technology one should never forget the humble pen and paper. There is a lot to be gained from putting your thoughts onto paper compared to a PC. We seem to have a connection with our machines but pen and paper provides a much more intimate feel.
I find it fascinating how ideas inside my nut can become more real or solid once my fingers skitter across the keyboard.
Putting pen to paper.
However I still practice the dark and mysterious act of “putting pen to paper”, something that is becoming increasingly lost in our digital age. Letting the ink flow over paper gives more weight to my thoughts somehow, as if the act itself is binding what is inside my head to the world and not stored on a hard drive. Maybe it’s because I can’t reach onto the screen and feel the indentation the words have made, or smudge those words like you can on paper.
The process of writing can be described in simple steps:
- Impulses from the brain to body.
- Fingers translating those thoughts.
- Thoughts appear on-screen/paper.
There indeed pro’s and con’s for both methods. With a PC you can edit, chop and change faster, change styles and store/manage records easier. With paper comes an intimacy, time is taken to choose the right words, your fingers are angled, gripping the pen in just the right way to place those words on the paper. It feels like you must take more control over your thought process and you can’t copy and paste with paper, and so the act of writing becomes slower, with more meaning and thought behind the actions from mind to paper.
The humble Biro.
Personally I love my pc, but I still sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and scratch out story lines, characters, notes, names, places, even entire chapters flow onto the paper given the right mood. I prefer a standard blue BiC pen, and in the UK you can pick one up for around £0.30, miles of scribbling for such a small payout! I have a pewter tankard on my desk with an assortment of pens and pencils but it’s the BiC that I reach for every time.
My fascination with writing fiction started at an early age, around 8 years old. I remember reading James and the Giant Peach, watching my dad read Stephen King and Terry Brooks. One clear memory was camping out in a tent on my Grandparents back garden on a sunny day. I had a small notebook and BiC pen, and I crafted a made up alphabet, why I can’t remember, but the process of creating those strange symbols and watching them grow on the paper was what got me hooked.
I am an unpublished writer, not that it matters, for me writing is its own reward. In English class at school we would be given various fiction books and told to read up to chapter 3 by class on Friday. Every time I would devour the book in one night. My dad had an extensive collection of books, on shelves, stacks and in boxes. I would browse them and select one that grabbed my attention, at that age I was given to judging a book by its cover. So, after reading the book my teacher handed to us I would slip open one from my dad’s collection and carry on reading.
I was (and still am) a book-aholic!
We all know the usual clichéd topics regarding books over films; you can make up your own voices for the characters, your imagination is unbound and the story unfolds at your will. Even at around 10 years old I was a book-aholic! I was inspired by so many authors and stories, amazed at how people could create so many different fictional worlds
At around 13 I started writing my own story, each night for an hour or so I would add a little more until it grew into a sizeable novel. Sadly that is all but lost now as it was stored on one of those large floppy disks (5 inch things) which were readable by my dads Apricot computer. I have some of it printed out though, yet I would never go back and rewrite it. I prefer to leave it where is, a fond chunk of memory from my childhood.
I’ve written a whole bunch of short stories, or novellas, some short around 5,000 words, others much longer at around 10-20,000 words. And one day I’ll revisit them and maybe see what can be done to improve them. Other than my efforts as a child/teenager I have one more finished book which does require some considerable editing! I have 2 projects in the works at the moment and I switch between them depending on my mood.
My dad inspired me to write.
I write because I have the desire and ability to translate my imagination to paper. It does not matter if no one ever reads my work, the process is the fun part. Friends have read my stuff with positive feedback. That’s always a boon to your self-esteem when someone tells you they have enjoyed delving into a world created by your imagination.
My dad has been an inspiration to me also, and has always provided me with solid constructive criticism of my work. He has that knack of highlighting the good and bad points, what works and what doesn’t, where things don’t make sense and where the words shine!
Even now as I sit in front of my PC, fingers clicking on the keyboard I am enthralled by the letters as they appear on the screen. I have an aptitude for design, web/graphic/3D, but my true passion and talent lies with fictional shizzle. This blog entry was a spur of the moment thing, something my brain decided to get off its chest so to speak. But I shall return to this subject again, more musings on the process and reasons of writing. I don’t claim to be an expert, but what knowledge I have is there for the sharing.