Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Pen is Mightier than the Keyboard

I've been writing for most of my life. Started with writing and illustrating my own comic books when I was around eight or nine years old, and started a short-lived neighborhood newspaper (creatively titled Neighborhood News). Then I discovered the fun of writing poetry, then short fiction. I went pro back in the early 1990's, and I plan to continue down this path for the rest of my life.

Through it all, I've struggled with the best way to get the words out of my head. Going back, I started out with pencil and paper, then moved on to pen and paper. In high school I inherited by father's old Smith/Corona typewriter that he had used in the Navy. The thing weighed about as much as a battleship and the "e" key would always stick, but it was fun to use. I thought it might help to increase my productivity, but inevitably ended up going back to my spiral notebook and pen.

Later, in my twenties, I bought a word processor. No, not a computer, a word processor. That's all it did. Big, boxy thing, ran like crap, and saved in a proprietary file format that wasn't compatible with anything. It was okay for typing up reports for community college, but I found myself going back to a pad of paper and pen.

Eventually, I had enough cash to buy a desktop computer and figured I'd never look back. Over the next two decades (holy crap!) I went through WordPerfect, Word, and a variety of other word processing software in an attempt to find that elusive replacement for the tree by-product I was hooked on. Alas, a replacement has not yet been found.

Sure, I'm typing this on my laptop, and I regularly use Scrivener when I'm writing electronically, but still, after all these years, I go back to pen and paper to get the creative juices flowing. I wonder if it's the way my handwriting flows on the page...it's manual, personal. Scribbles, inkblots, torn pages...it doesn't matter. Whenever I'm writing electronically and can't seem to get the words out, I switch to pen and paper.

There's no school like Old School.

RB

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