I can't be the only one, right? Sometimes when I have writer's block, the only solution is to put my laptop away, sit down with a pen and a journal, and start handwriting.
In fact, recently I was stuck in a major rut of writer's block. I hadn't written hardly a word in nearly a full month! I was definitely suffering from the third type of writer's block that I blogged about earlier: outside stress. And part of overcoming that was dealing with the things that were stressing me out, but it wasn't enough. Every time that I sat down at the computer to write, it was too tedious to continue.
And then I bought a new journal.
And wrote about 5,000 words in a couple of days while busy with other things.
That is the power of the journal, and of handwriting.
Now for me, I usually prefer to type on the computer, for a number of different reasons. First of all, it means less work later on (if I write by hand, I know I'll have to go back and type it up later). Second, it doesn't make my hand sore like handwriting does. And third, when I'm on a roll and everything is flowing, I just can't write by hand fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. It slows me down!
The problem is that when I'm suffering from a bout of writer's block and I'm typing on the computer, my thoughts are coming much more slowly than I can type. And in between the mere seconds it takes for me to type up the sentence that just came to me, I'm stuck staring at a blank screen, feeling like I'm hardly making any progress at all. Not only is it frustrating, it also makes it difficult to concentrate. And in those times, I just need to write by hand.
When I transition to writing by hand, even my slow thoughts can keep up with my writing. I stay focused, and I can see my progress in all the pages that I've already written. And even though my laptop is small and lightweight, it doesn't mean I can or want to take it everywhere that I take my journal. Not to mention, opening my journal to write feels like less of a commitment than turning on my laptop and setting myself up for a long writing session. I can watch TV and write in my journal at the same time, or write on the commercials, or jot down a few paragraphs right before bed or when I'm about to leave the house. I can even carry it with me when running errands and write whenever I'm waiting for an appointment. Sometimes writing by hand is just the only solution.
In fact, when I was a kid and we went to the bookstore, I would always want to buy a new journal, even though I had at least a dozen at home already, each with a different story in it that was never finished. And the best ones were the pretty journals, the leather-backed ones or ones with pretty or interesting designs on the covers. Sometimes the design of the cover would even inspire a new story. It is true that any pen and paper will do, but for me, there's something about a new journal that just makes me inspired to write.
So if you're suffering from writer's block and nothing else is working, go out to the bookstore and buy a new journal. It might just be exactly what you need to finish that book!
Am I the only one? The only one who has a closet full of half-filled journals and still wants a new one every time I visit the bookstore? Do you prefer typing or handwriting? Let me know!