Monday, January 6, 2014

A Stack Of Notebooks

There is something very satisfying about the idea of a stack of notebooks filled with a first draft. Handwritten words on lined paper, edits written on sticky notes, sharpened pencils. The smell and feel and aura of a fresh notebook.

But despite my love of paper, I do all my writing on a computer.

Computers have definite advantages over paper. The "delete" button is much easier to use than an eraser, it can be easily carried where ever I go, posting online is much easier, it's fast, and the mess of beginnings and edits is kept contained in folders on the "desktop."

Paper also has definite advantages over computers. It can be used anywhere, like outside or even up a tree. Scribbling on paper is much more beautiful than hitting keys. It's slower than typing, at least for me, so it makes me think more about my words. And the rewrite necessary to get the first draft in paper onto the computer is a great chance to edit.

Sometimes I think about switching to paper. That way I have an analog back-up if my hard drive
crashes. That way I have a stack of notebooks filled with first drafts. That way I have to rewrite everything at least once.
But I have bad hand posture when I write with a pencil. That stack of notebooks would become a heap on the floor of my bedroom, probably dog eared because I would take it everywhere.
So I stay with the computer most of the time. Maybe someday I'll use paper and pencil and a stack of beautiful notebooks. For now, the convenience and efficiency of my computer trumps the beauty and romance of paper and pen.