Sometimes, when you’re finding it hard to work on a story or a blog post, it’s worth switching off the computer and picking up a pen instead.
In this digital age, most of us type rather than write our fiction, our essays and articles. Not just because it’s easier, less labour intensive, but because we need to be able to share our work online, or submit it somewhere via email.
But I often find the physical act of writing unblocks something in my mind in a way that typing never can.
On a computer screen, the blank page can be a battlefield; the blinking cursor taunting you for your inability to find the right words. But a blank sheet of paper is a beautiful thing, like an unbroken stretch of snow. You long to press the tip of your pen against the paper, letting your neatest handwriting flow across the page.
Writing at a computer feels like work; it strips away the magic of curling up somewhere with a notebook, whether on your sofa or by the window of a coffee shop, as you gaze through the glass at the people idling by outside.
I find it hard to write by hand for long; I’m so used to the computer keyboard that my wrist aches after just a few lines. But there’s something satisfying about it, about the sense of muscle memory, recalling the diary you kept as a child or the endless essays you wrote at school.
Looking back through your old journals or notebooks full of poetry can be a rich experience, full of memory and sentiment. Reading through Word documents doesn’t invoke the same sense of nostalgia.
So next time you’re frustrated by writer’s block, put the laptop away and settle down with a notebook instead. You might be inspired.