I love my keyboard. It seems so long ago (yes, high school was very long ago) since I grudgingly, and awkwardly, did my touch-typing exercises at the typewriter: the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy hen… Something like that.
Now, after years of composing at the keyboard, my fingers barely hesitate over the keys as they follow the pace of my thoughts. If anything, my thoughts can be more sluggish than my fingers. And no more white-out for those pesky errors!
What wonderful tools we writers have these days – no more writing out our thoughts in long-hand, and laboriously re-typing everything on (if you were especially cursed) a manual typewriter. You always knew what was typed on a manual: the a, q, z, “, and ? showed up more faintly under the pinky fingers. No more carbon paper, either, and you can e-mail everything to your agent.
But the grass is always greener on the other side of the window, so to speak. I’m looking out upon a gorgeous late-summer/early-fall day, and catching the occasional breeze, but I’m tethered to my computer. Yes, it’s a laptop and I could go anywhere with it, but we all know how difficult it is to read those screens in sunlight. And it doesn’t seem right, somehow.
So I was tempted to take a pen and pad of lined paper outside, drink in nature, and let the creative thoughts flow. But I didn’t, because I knew that, even if my thoughts positively gushed, they could only be translated to paper by the slow trickle of my long-hand. It feels as awkward as learning to be left-handed in mid-life (or, in my case, learning to be right-handed). Or, to phrase it more ironically, it seems as awkward as learning to touch-type.
But I’ll still get outside, and you should, too! When you come back in, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the way you work: typewriter? Paper? Both? Does nature invigorate or distract you from your writing?
Until next time,