Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Pen and Paper Storm

I've never considered myself a pen-and-paper writer. I find ink much more intimidating than a blank Word document. It could be because "delete" is much easier than scratching out pen marks. Or it could be a type of rebellion against the years of school and note-taking that led me into adulthood. Somewhere in my mind, lined paper equals preparing for exams and lectures that bear no importance to my daily life.

To fight this fear, I keep buying cute notebooks to throw in my purse so that I'm ready when inspiration strikes. Inspiration is usually outweighed by the gravity of WRITING IN INK and then staring at my own scribbles. This is why I bought a netbook. It's a cute little red HP number. It's not fast, or flashy, but it works. With it and Dropbox, I have my WIP at my disposal just about anywhere.

This perfect system was tested a week ago. My husband and I went to Eastern Europe on vacation without kids. Visions of sitting in a cafe, typing away by the Danube, gave way to the reality of a fun but packed vacation. We had a great time. We saw life from a different perspective. We did not have ANY down-time that didn't involve a train or a plane. And I discovered something about myself: I can't write on a train or a plane.

I dutifully took out my tiny computer, opened my document, and stared. And stared some more. And finally opened Bejeweled Blitz and gave up. The problem with the Word doc is that it's perfect for when I'm ready to WRITE but not for when I need to THINK. Sometimes I don't even realize which stage I'm at until I sit down to try. I finally get why the blinking cursor is so scary. Fortunately, I came with a backup notebook. It's small, and cute, and the only way it could be less scary would be if it was pink. It doesn't say, "Write your novel here!" Instead it says, "Jot down ideas! C'mon! No pressure! You know you want to!"

Which is exactly what I did.

On a train from Prague to Budapest, surrounded by loud Europeans and field after field of sunflowers outside my window, I brainstormed. With a pen, paper, and a cute little notebook. By the time we'd arrived, I'd figured out how my WIP was going to end.

Don't tell my husband, but it may be my favorite part of the trip.


Rain Storm said...

The owl notebook!! I love that one! I remember when you ordered it. So, see, now I am forever a part of your WIP even more.

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