For some reason I instinctually want to begin the creative process in analog. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician so creating organically feels the most natural. Whenever I want to write, I always reach for paper first and then I remind myself to use the keyboard. As a child I kept tons of journals and notebooks. I was always scribbling something. The tactile sensations were part of the experience. Different kinds of paper were for writing about certain things. I used different ink styles ranging from ballpoint, to gel rollers, to glittery, all in a variety of brilliant colors. It enhanced the experience for me. I felt more engaged. Over the past few years an injury in my thumb has prevented me from handwriting and it has largely disrupted my creative process.
When handwriting first started to become kind of painful, I was resistant to typing on the computer. For years, actually, I stopped writing as much. It felt too impersonal like I was separated from the words. When I handwrite I’m engaged in the motion. Typing, on the other hand, feels like punching out a pattern to create words. It changes the experience.
In a notebook, I have the option to go anywhere with my pen. Shapes, designs and words all come out in fluid motions. It’s a different experience on the computer or a device. On the computer it’s challenging to do anything more than just straight typing. I have a few drawing apps on my iPad and a couple of different styluses. Some aspects of this are amazing because I can change colors and implements in seconds. But the stylus is not as precise as actually holding an implement. Another challenge is not being able to see the whole canvas. On some drawing programs it’s difficult to add pages, whereas in the physical world you could tape two pieces of paper together.
After pouting about it for a few years, I decided to embrace the changes. As a compromise I will often scribble a few small notes or sketch something out on paper before transferring it to electronic. I still consider handwriting to be part of my creative process. Although I am now extremely grateful to have digital options available, without which I wouldn’t be able to write The Deletist every week!