Cuts like a knife…. but it feels so right

As a follow-up to my previous post extolling the virtues of my dictionary, I can’t help but now talk about another long-time love… paper. Whereas seeing my good old MW Collegiate the other day was like bumping into an old flame and all the old feelings coming back, I would say paper is that best friend who has always been there for me. When times are awesome or terrible, or sometimes in between, I write in my journal. Yes, even in the Age of the Blog I still keep a journal with pen and paper, and I have a HUGE collection of blank books waiting to be next in line when I get to the end of the current one. When I write poetry it is always by hand, and my short stories and school papers (pre-college) would almost always be handwritten and then transcribed onto the computer.

In college as an English major I had a lot more papers to write, and for those I would type without the middle step. Same goes for just about all of my NaNoWriMo ’07 novel, because it’s a large task with little time. But for my next “novel,” which I started in January but haven’t written much since throwing JanNo out the window, I found that writing longhand helped me to get through the first chapter (about 1k). Writing on paper is a different sensation from typing. I’m on the computer a lot every day, and there are so many distractions just waiting for me to click over to them. With paper and pen, I can much more easily focus on the writing and the story. Plus it takes more time to write that way, and I can really make each word count.

When I’m writing with ink I’m more aware of the changes I make. If I realize that I want to switch the order of two sentences or move one to the previous paragraph, I circle and draw an arrow. It’s different from copy/paste because it’s more hands on. I have to consider the change twice, once when I decide on it and once when I type it up. The distance I get from the story between writing and typing is good because I make additional changes when typing that I don’t think about the first time through. In fact, the first typed version of something I did longhand is sometimes really a second draft.

This is so not the direction I originally intended this post to go, but I like it. Now though I want to go back to my first idea, which is a list of reasons I love paper.

  • It comes in lots of colors, textures, thicknesses, and even sometimes designs.
  • I LOVE the sound it makes when you tap it together on a hard surface. Just a couple taps and a haphazard stack falls neatly into place!
  • I love when opening a fresh pack of looseleaf and some of the little circles from the hole punch fall out.
  • I love paper cuts. I know, I know, I know. Paper cuts are the worst kind of small pain. I probably can’t explain this so you understand, so I won’t even try.
  • Blank piece of paper = endless possibilities.
  • Sounds cool when you rip it, sounds cool when you crumple it, sounds cool when you uncrumple it…
  • You can wrap it around presents, fold it into all kinds of different things like boxes and origami animals.

Etc. There are lots of other reasons too but those are the first 7 that spring to mind, and I think that’s enough for now.

This entry was posted on February 27, 2008, in writing. Bookmark the permalink.