Journaling June: So It Be Pens

I tried writing my journal in pencil yesterday to test if that was a viable option (see my previous post: The Right Write Stuff. And . . .

(not so much.)

First, the pencil was too heavy. I have a Rotring mechanical pencil. It is a sturdy, all metal thing, which feels good in the hand. That is, it has a reassuring quality to it’s heft. That weight comes at a price. It is a detriment when writing for extended periods of time. My hand kept cramping, forcing me to stop and work out the kinks.

Second, and more importantly, I could edit what I was writing. Did edit what I was writing. That meant more stopping; more stopping meant less writing. Not good, right? It’s worse because stopping to fix things is editing, and editing is the completely wrong mindset for writing shitty first drafts. SFDs are the realm of pure creativity, or as close as I can get. SFDs grow from that magical soil where I walk with the Muse. A place where anything can—and should—happen. A place that is wide open and free.

(sounds like a commercial set in the land of feminine hygiene products.)

Shut up, you!

Editing, by contrast, is the logical side. It’s what I do when I’m revising, when I’m taming the wild possibilities I’ve thrown Jackson Pollock style on the page.

The two mindsets don’t play well. At least not for me. If I start editing too soon I get bogged down and lose the creative spark. Writing becomes a chore, like pushing one of those old-time plows up hill. Even if the Muse was willing to wait around while I laboriously fought with the words, that’s too much work. Whenever that happens, what I’m working on falls apart and I go do something else.

That’s why I start off old school—paper and pen—rather than on a word processor. It is far too easy to slide into editing mode in Microsoft Word. Though I can type way faster than I can handwrite, I get way less done. One would think it’d be more effective to have a workflow with less parts. Nope. Perhaps for some that is the case. Not for me.

(so the pencil option is out?)

Right out. Shitty first drafts are always pen and paper.

I’ve got my perfect paper. Now I’ve got to find my perfect pen. Using what I wrote before as the guide, are there any pen aficionados out there who can give me a recommendation?

7 Replies to “Journaling June: So It Be Pens”

  1. I don’t write SFDs. I “became” a writer about 5 years ago, writing long-form nonfiction. I would constantly edit as I went… like every sentence. Then, every time I took a break and then returned to my computer, I’d start from the beginning and edit my way to the bottom and then continue where I left off. I think it works fairly well for me, but I always wind up with a heavily polished beginning and a weak and/or sloppy ending. I just haven’t put as much effort into the end. So while I may have SFPs (that’s final products) no SFDs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Different workflows are one of the things I like talking about with other writers. It’s fascinating to hear all the different ways people get from the initial thought/idea to the final product.


  2. “my perfect pen”: Bic, Bic, Bic (standard black ballpoint). It’s the only way to go!!! :)) I haven’t read your other one as the guide yet though, might change my mind. :))

    I love this Aeryk. Always love reading about others’ processes. Btw if you want some “outsider” feedback, I loved that paragraph just before your critic came in, and it’s so neat to read how the critic in a writer’s mind actually may have little voice in the head of the average person reading. This helps me realize perhaps I should leave my critic out more. But I love that you put it in so that we could learn that. xo n

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been fun giving the “little voice” a real voice. I don’t know if I’m just weird or what, but when I did all the vitriol drained out. It was less a “critic” or “censor” or anything negative and just became a buddy. A smart alek buddy.

      I am glad to hear you say “the critic in a writer’s mind actually may have little voice in the head of the average person reading” because some of the time that’s exactly what I’m hoping to anticipate, i.e. what the reader is thinking. And weirdly enough, by breaking the fourth wall, bring the reader IN more, rather than “break the spell.” It’s still early days, which means I’m ever improving my technique, but I’m reassured I’m on the right track.

      Liked by 1 person

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