• I am a Luddite

    pen and paper

    I am taking Tammy Strobel’s online Writing in the Digital Age class. Tammy blogs at www.RowdyKittens.com. One of Tammy’s lessons this week encouraged each individual to pay attention to the writing tools that work for us.

    I remember struggling with this the first time I took Tammy’s class.  It seems so easy, right? You sit down at a computer. You type words.  And, magically, you’re done.

    Oh, if only….

    One of my greatest discoveries from Tammy’s class: I’m a total luddite.

    If I sit down to a blank page on a computer I choke. That blinking curser scatters my words like cockroaches in sudden light.

    But, if I sit down with a blank notebook and a pen, the possibilities are endless. Entire worlds open up to me. Details appear that I didn’t know existed until they’re on paper.  Character traits emerge that I couldn’t have come up with in my wildest typing frenzy.

    I love a notebook and a pen.  I carry them everywhere with me. I even have favorite pens, depending on the day and my mood. There’s something I can’t resist about a blank notebook page.  I want to put something – anything – on it.

    I’ve collected notebooks my whole life. I can’t walk past a clearance rack with $5 journals without stopping to consider them.  As a result I have half full journals scattered all over my house.

    A few months ago I threw a bunch of these away after going through them.  Going back through those old journals was the most God awful clean up task in the history of ever.

    Seriously, scrubbing toilets or having a tooth drilled is more fun than reading old journals. I flipped through the pages, cringing and shaking my head, grateful that I was the only person to ever see what was in them.

    My husband saw the stack sitting next to the garbage can and gave me the same look I imagine he’d wear if I’d just told him I planned to move to Japan to become a geisha.

    “Are you sure?  I mean, you’re not gonna want those in ten years?”

    My immediate, overly anxious reaction was one I think all writers must have: “But if I die tomorrow, what will I leave behind!?”

    And that was the clincher.

    I knew the best ideas out of those journals were already blog posts or drafted stories.  I threw the journals away because the only thing worse than leaving nothing behind was leaving a collection of embarrassing, melodramatic scribbles.

    And yet, a notebook and a pen are still as alluring as ever.  The difference between now and the first time I took Tammy’s class is that I’ve learned to accept my luddite tendencies. Embrace them, even.

    If you’ve ever considered taking up writing and you’re not sure where to begin, Tammy’s class is a wonderful place to start.  She showed me a path through the trees. I bet she can do the same for you.

13 Responsesso far.

  1. I thoroughly enjoy her classes 🙂 She is a great source of inspiration.

  2. What a wonderful post! Writing is a challenging process for many of us. Especially those, like me, who stumbled upon writing as a creative outlet very late in life. Somewhere in my heart I still believe that “true writers” write with pen and paper and the rest of us “imposter writers” scribble out drek via our computer keyboards. Your writing is so thoughtful and engaging that however you come to it, you are sharing a true gift with anyone fortunate enough to read it. Thank you! I am so glad to have connected through Tammy Strobel and this class.

    • Meghan says:

      Thank you for your kind comment! It’s funny that you think of real writers that way, because I used to think the real writers were those who could hammer out a first draft on a computer screen. After a lot of beating my head against the computer screen I decided to keep what worked for me, and ditch what didn’t. 🙂

  3. Love it Meghan.. you got me at: “But if I die tomorrow, what will I leave behind!?” ha ha awsome:)

  4. Leslee says:

    Old school pen and paper inspiring, go figure! Guess we had something going for us!

  5. TMC says:

    I have a box full of old journals that I’ve never looked at but for some reason can’t seem to toss. Maybe one of these days.

    I don’t journal so much anymore but I do always have a pen and notebook with me to keep track of blog post ideas and other random thoughts.

    I’m in Tammy’s course, too. I’m really enjoying it. See you on FB! : )

  6. Stacy McCoy-Rose says:

    Thank You…

    Reading that others are struggling with the same issues is very reassuring words.

  7. Kaylin Lydia says:

    I once saw a documentary about a son who read his mothers journals after her death and learned things that changed his perception of her in a negative way and left him with many questions. After that, I tossed all my journals that I wouldn’t want anyone else to read and haven’t regretted it since.

  8. Delicia says:

    What a great read Meghan! I love that you are embracing your luddite tendencies and making the most of what works for you. I also enjoy a beautiful journal and pens. I recently got some coloured pens. It is fascinating to observe which colour I choose to write with, as it often reflects my inner world. I can only agree with you that Tammy’s course is inspiring and a great place to meet wonderful people too 🙂

  9. […] all the pieces on paper, no matter how it happens.  I’m a total luddite and usually write my first drafts with a pen and paper before transferring to some sort of word […]

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