I never thought I’d become the kind of person who wrote by hand. I’ve always been so paranoid about losing sheets of work, I hold my pen awkwardly enough to bring about discomfort after short periods and, okay, fine, I am a bit of an IT snob. Plus, growing up, writing on a computer made me feel important and intellectual. I was writing documents, after all. Documents!
But then Broadband happened. And YouTube. And Facebook. And Wikipedia. And online gaming. And suddenly writing on a computer became a very different game. A game I have recently cut back on tremendously.
Charlie Haynes, runner of Urban Writers Retreat (yes, the apostrophe is meant to be missing – she says so herself!), offers a useful piece of advice. She notes that writers beat themselves up about being so easily distracted, and yet continue trying to write around huge temptations in modern life. What they need to do is work in an environment where they are removed from those distractions.
So that’s what I did: got out these old mysterious relic items called a ‘pen’ (from the Latin, peniferus inkius) and ‘paper’ (formerly an Old English acronym) and began to write. And I’m writing a lot more than I’ve written in an awfully long time!
There’s also an anti-perfectionist edge to writing things out properly. The Delete and Backspace buttons can’t tempt me into dismissing anything I don’t particularly like. On paper, if it’s written, it’s written and you have to make the effort to work with it. Plus you can focus exclusively on your project rather than constantly splitting your attention in several directions.
So, thank you, Charlie. And thank you, archaic writing tools. And thank you, internet, for not calling me back to you too relentlessly.
For anyone interested in writing retreats, online or actual, Charlie’s website is http://www.urbanwritersretreat.co.uk/
On another note, however, a quick celebration of another set of milestones! I have now written over 20 posts and have over 30 blog followers, over 50 blog likes, and over 125 Twitter followers! Thanks so much to every one of you for your support! It means so much that you would associate yourself with a nutcase like me!