All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Writing in A New (Old) Way

If you are reading this on the weekend it was posted, chances are that you don't know that March 5th is the beginning of the National Day of Unplugging. This was established as the one time a year people should try to disconnect from the grid, break away from news media, social media, and all other media, and exist in a more present, aware state of mind. A nice idea - I hope it catches on, but I suspect it won't gain too much traction. There is, however, something to be taken away from it.

Now, this does relate to writing in a roundabout way. While this may not apply to the youngest generation of my regular readers, I hope everyone finds a way to find relevance. When I started writing in school, it was with a big Husky brand pencil, thicker than my little fingers. Eventually, I advance to a standard #2 pencil, then a pen, then a mechanical pencil. The first typewriter I used (at home) was a manual, but by eighth grade I was using an electric typewriter. Then came the built-in, industrial-sized computer keyboards, the detachable plug-in keyboards, then wireless, then laptops, and finally tablet keypads. Oh how the world has evolved over such a short time. 

This post is not meant to be a celebration of technology. This is merely a reminder of the journey, and what happens when we reclaim some part of the past. Every now and then - especially if I have writer's block - I grab a notepad and pencil and just start jotting down how it feels to go so retro so quickly. I have discovered that a part of my mind from grade school wakes up from the touch of fingertip to shaved wood. The tactile memory comes back in a way I can only describe through writing - my emotions process differently, and I take in the world from a new, but actually old, perspective. In some ways, I am that kid in junior high with a #2 pencil, a whole bunch of ideas and no fear about whether they're good or bad.

Believe it or not, the same is also true for something as simple as a keyboard - perhaps even more so. My regular readers know that I started doing creative writing on a regular basis with my laptop. When I write this piece, however, it is usually on my office PC with an entirely different keyboard and monitor setup. Well, guess what? Whenever I pull out my laptop, my creative mind wakes up and I feel inspired to do things like poetry or short stories. Put that heavier, USB-connected keyboard in front of me, and I narrow into a different mindset. My entire economics career was with that kind of keyboard, so I become very analytical, very sharp-minded (and sometimes less creative than I prefer).

So, for National Day of Unplugging, I would recommend this - though you do not have to do it on this or any day in particular. As a writing experiment, try writing with a separate media - either writing by hand (pen or pencil - your call), writing in a different room, or maybe dusting off an old typewriter and just banging on the keys for a while. And as you do this, see where your mind goes: what memories are dragged out, what feelings emerge, and so on. 

And, of course, if there's ever a day you can go entirely off the grid, let me know how it goes. Preferably by e-mail.

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