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.