the mutt

Handmade problems

Posted in Writing by grx20 on September 13, 2008

I think writing a story with pen and paper is tougher than typing it out on a computer.

I have always found writing on exquisitely designed books a very daunting task.

Exhibit A, here shows 2 books – a gift. It’s been almost six months and I haven’t written a single word on it. I have story ideas and in fact, I recently completed two stories. But I still haven’t summoned the nerve to stain its pages.

The reason is simple. I don’t want to write something wrong. The pages are pristine; they have a wonderful, handmade feel to them. And I don’t want to litter it with scratches.

As if summoning the will to write wasn’t daunting enough. As if writing wasn’t hard enough. As if the blank page wasn’t intimidating enough.

The typewriter has the same problem. For the clatter one produces with the keys, however sweet and fortifying it is, the output better be something worth keeping.

The good thing is it forces you to write better, with more clarity and precision. It forces you to raise your standard of writing so that you scratch out lesser. You feel what you’ve written is good enough to put in that book.

Right now, I’m still writing on newsprint paper.

It is cheap, crinkly and old. It doesn’t scare me.


5 Responses

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  1. Jo-Naathan said, on September 13, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Its a good thing my computer screen is pretty cheap, crinkly and old … and a CRT screen instead of a flat screen. Less pressure to type out comments 😉

  2. vyshnavi said, on September 20, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Ditto sentiments. I love stationery. But the computer affords you several rounds of typing / deleting and rewriting. So does a scribbling pad. You can’t mar a hand made paper book. Only my final draft is copied on to it, if ever I use it!

  3. the mutt said, on September 20, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Vyshnavi, thanks for stopping by.
    Another visitor here said it’s a good thing he had cheap CRT monitor instead of a flat screen! Final draft on handmade books – that’s an interesting idea. Will try it out.

  4. Kim Justesen said, on September 29, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    There is something about announcing to the world at large that you are a writer. Suddenly everyone wants to buy you lovely, handmade journals and notebooks, and perhaps even fancy pens. These lovely gifts, while genuine and thoughtful, tend to push me toward writers’ block in a way that nothing else has the ability to do. Like you, I am afraid that I will spoil the pages or waste the ink with a disgusting first-draft; something that should never be seen by human eyes other than my own. If I’m compelled to use paper and pen to write – and there are often legitimate reasons to do so – then a cheap spiral notebook and a ballpoint pen work wonderfully.

    Keep writing!

  5. the mutt said, on October 6, 2008 at 4:38 am

    Hi Kim,
    I wonder – before computers, writers never had this problem. Quill and parchment, that’s it. If you want to write, take it … or leave it. Simpler days!

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