Find Creativity Day 5 | Step Away From The Computer

Creativity isn't found at the computer | In The Next 30 Days

When I was in school and I needed to submit short stories to my writers’ workshops, I used to always start with my pen in hand, staring at a sheet of ruled paper. I’d scribble, cross out, underline, rewrite. So nothing about the process was neat. But when I’d finished a writing session, I always felt like I’d accomplished something. Like the ink that stained my fingers was war paint. The pages that rippled stiffly in my hand were some kind of trophy.

It’s always strange to me to see my handwriting on my computer screen. And yes, this is my handwriting; I photographed some pages from the Moleskin that I opened when I felt a story pulling at me. (My apologies to every handwriting teacher who tried so hard.) Something about my own letters on the computer seems unnatural and strange. When I look at my laptop I expect font, typography, structure. But when I put pen to paper, my expectations shift and morph into something much more organic.

The inhibition I feel with a pen in my hand is part of the reason I’m stepping away from my computer to create during these 30 Days. It’s so easy to get caught up is how something is supposed to look. But I find that expectation, that quest for perfection, is such a creativity killer. Maybe it’s a right-brain/left-brain thing. But how can I think about imagery and language and beauty when technology is so rigid and sometimes awkward? Creativity is meant to flow and feel free. And computers can stomp on that.

So this month, I’m seeing my handwriting much more. And, you know, it’s growing on me.

Do you create better with your mouse or a pencil?


  1. says

    I love your handwriting, and I miss seeing handwriting. It is so funny to think of all of the people I have met and become friends with in the past 10 years and that I wouldn’t recognize their handwriting if I saw it. My handwriting is pretty, but illegible, a friend once said it looked like Leonardo DaVinci’s, a witty put down sounding like a compliment.
    Virginia recently posted..ColcannonMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks, Virginia. And I think there’s something to be said for beautiful penmanship, right? I think about the Victorians who wrote letters with such ferocity. They’re handwriting was lovely, I’m sure, but I doubt we’d consider it legible. And if someone told me that I wrote like DaVinci, I’d totally take that as a compliment. They must’ve recognized your genius. 😉

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