Return to the old ways

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

The purpose of this blog was to get me writing again. I thought writing a blog would kick start my latent creative juices and would lead me on to other ideas, stories; perhaps even, if I dare mention it, a novel. I knew nothing about blogging and had, shamefully, read very few blogs before I started. I chose to write a blog as it seemed to fit my needs. I not only wanted to write but I also wanted to make sure I finished pieces. I also thought having a blog would force me to write. It has done all of this for me.

I like the commitment of posting. I set myself a task of posting twice a week and, for the most part, have succeeded in achieving this. Blogging gives me the kick up the bum I need to write. Without it I would get distracted with the mundane tasks of daily life, and gradually lose interest and stop. I know this as it has happened so many times before.

I like the fact that I can write a piece in its entirety, post it, and move onto the next. My previous attempts at writing have all too often ended with a notebook full of ideas, plots and characters, and half finished stories. With blogging I can actually finish something, and this feels good.

I like it that writing my blog has reignited my creative fire; that I have ideas and thoughts for plots again. I have been working on a poem, the first one I have written since my school days. It needs an awful lot of work, but it’s getting there. I also have an idea for a short story. I only need to get it from my mind to paper through my fingers. There is just something stopping it – my computer.

This may seem an odd thing to write, but it is perfectly true. In examining why I have trouble finishing anything I have discovered it is all the fault of my PC. To be more exact, how writing on a PC distracts me. It is not the internet, or games, or reliving past happy family memories that diverts me from my task. It is Microsoft Word.

The problem started at university where they insisted that every essay was handed in to an exacting standard. All work had to be written on Word, using Times New Roman font, with one and a half spaces, and Oxford referencing. I’m sure there were other nitpicking demands but time has erased these from my memory. It seems academics hold such things in high esteem. I guess when you have over one hundred essays to mark it makes it easier if they are all written in the same format. Personally, I think it would be more interesting if they allowed students free reign over such things. Let them have a bit of freedom of expression for goodness sake. There again, I always have been a bit of a maverick.

The problem with writing my essays using Word was that I could spend hours writing my opening paragraph. There was something about that gleaming white page, and the perfectly formed letters that caused me to go back and reread and rewrite everything I’d written before I’d even written one paragraph. I knew I shouldn’t. I screamed at myself to stop, to just get it written and come back and change it later. But, I couldn’t. It was a compulsion over which I had no control.

This compulsion has followed me from university. It isn’t really a problem with I’m writing posts for my blog. They are short pieces and my constant self-editing doesn’t prevent me from finishing. However, my compulsion has stopped me from finishing short stories in the past, and now I’m wary about starting one. I need to find a different way of working.

So, I’ve decided to return to the old traditional methods of writing. No banging away at a keyboard for me; I’m going back to pencil and paper. I really think this will work for me as my writing is so atrocious I won’t want to go back and reread it! I can just write away until the story is complete. I also don’t have the problems that come with writing on a PC. Firstly, I don’t have to wait an eternity for the thing to switch on and load up Word. I can just pick up my notebook and write. Secondly, my kids won’t be pestering me to play Cbeebies internet games whilst I’m trying to work. No PC, no I Can Cook games! Finally, I can just pop my notebook in my bag and write on the bus or in a coffee shop if I so desire. I probably won’t, but I quite like the idea that I can if I want to . As for the pencil thing. I just like writing with pencils. They beat pens any day.


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