In this age of technology, the process of writing has never been easier. Computers make drafting, formatting, and saving a snap. Typing is faster than writing by hand (and more legible in some cases too.) And when deadlines are looming, pounding out an essay can take minutes instead of hours. Yet I would make the claim that we don’t forget the trusty pencil-to-paper method of recording our thoughts and words.
Well, I have to admit, I’m a bit old school. I enjoy writing by hand, using a pen or pencil to scribble my notions on paper. It allows me to record my ideas and thoughts without concern about organization. I can write with messy abandon, randomly and freely. Sometimes I feel limited when I type on a computer because I feel that my thoughts must be organized and complete before I finalize them on paper. When writing with pencil (or pen) and paper I can make notes in the margins and then skip to another section of the blank page to quickly write down another thought before it escapes my brain like a balloon floating away in the sky. I can make squiggles and arrows, circles and cross-outs. My rough drafts are exactly that – rough. They look as though they have just been through a massacre, with unwanted phrases and ideas left for dead on the page. It is only until I have all my disordered, muddled thoughts collected on a page that I feel comfortable typing my words and ideas into structured and thoughtful final prose.
There is something to be said about a neat and tidy, polished piece of writing. But sometimes it takes a bit of messiness with the help of a pencil and paper to get there.