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Technology Versus Old-School

Tools of the Trade

In this age of readily available technology, most people automatically head straight for their computers when it's time to write. That's exactly what I did when I got my very first Apple desktop computer, an iMac with the transparent blue bullet-shaped back, a joint birthday gift from my husband, Brian, and sister, Toni. I thought I was the sizzle! I purchased a second-hand desk, placed it against the brick wall of our loft apartment, hung an African textile above the desk, added a potted cactus and a desk lamp, and I thought all I had to do was sit at that picture perfect set-up and magic would happen!

A dinosaur

Quite the opposite proved to be true. I found the tapping sound of the keyboard a distraction which made me hyper- aware of what I was attempting to do, preventing me from detaching from the process and just getting down to writing. After several attempts, I resorted to pen and paper. If you decide to go this route, find a pen you like and make sure you keep an ample supply handy, and make sure you keep pads throughout your house and a small notebook that you can carry with you. The Notes app on iPhones are a good place to jot down ideas that pop into your head, but a small notebook is always a reliable backup in case your phone battery dies.

Another advantage of pen and paper is that they are plentiful, portable, and there's never a lag in time while you wait for your computer to bootup or your phone to find a hot spot. Ideas and insights tend to strike at the strangest times - getting up from bed to pee, for example, or while nursing your child or riding the train in to work. Bottom line, you want to be prepared. One major drawback of the pen and paper route is that you will have to transcribe your hand-written notes to typed notes, which essentially equates to more time. But the extra time you put in to transcribing your work may prove worthwhile if writing by hand enables you to be more present and, subsequently, more productive while you are writing.

Take some time in these first couple of weeks to try various writing tools until you hit upon what feels right for you, and then go with it.

Next: Writing Spaces


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