terry gross

Pen to Paper

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

I heard a fabulous interview a few months ago with writer Richard Ford. I’ve never read any of his work, but he is now on my “books I must read” list. He spoke with clarity, wit and with the wisdom of someone who has explored the mystery and wonder of language, emotion and the human experience.

Mr. Ford talked about writing quotes that interested or intrigued him on 3×5 cards and reading them every now and again. He chuckled when Terry Gross asked him why he didn’t organize them on the computer. He then told her that he writes his novels by hand. On paper. With a pen. No computer.

This made me smile, a great big goofy grin and then I gave the radio a big thumbs up and a YES! Why?

Because I’m really a luddite at heart (as I type away on the keyboard! HA)?

No, I just related to Ford’s feelings about putting pen to paper, that writing is thinking out loud(I think that’s a quote from one of his 3×5’s).

When I have a large amount of writing to do, I write by hand. It makes me feel more connected to the thoughts, the emotions and the subject I’m writing about. When I write this way I don’t edit as I let my thoughts flow.

I create these blog posts at the computer most of the time and I find it hard to just type without editing. The thoughts don’t flow as easily, which isn’t bad it’s just different. Don’t get me wrong, I love that delete button and cut and paste is magic in my mind! Writing on paper takes more time and most of us don’t have much to spare these days. So I’m very grateful to have the luxury of this machine (I liked typewriters too!) but I have been thinking that I want to write more regularly, because I want to not just when I have to.

Journaling or writing letters, trying to do a bit each day. More than a shopping list scrawl or notes in my client’s files. Bringing back the pleasure of putting pen to page. Maybe using it as a form of meditation, a creative endeavor to keep my mind sharp, my eyes bright and my heart and hands connected.

Happy writing!

If you are interested in reading about the “how to” of writing, Natalie Goldberg’s book “Writing Down the Bones” is an excellent resource and a fun read too!