Getting the lead out


The Daily Prompt had me thinking again this morning.   This is what it had to say – “When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?”


I vaguely remember the pre-keyboard era.  Either that, or I am trying to block it out because I do remember it and it makes me feel somewhat vintage.  I was the girl who loved to write letters to pen pals, write silly love poems, short stories and crazy plays that could only be created by an 8-year-old mind and acted out by animal puppets.

I would spend hours printing and practicing my ‘cursive’ writing.  (that word plays heavily in my vocabulary these days, but with an alternate suffix and a very dissimilar meaning!)  I loved to write so much that my wonderful penmanship turned into an obsession with calligraphy.  My doodles in high school were never flowers or hearts, but intricately designed versions of the alphabet.  There was something so satisfying about being able to create that type of flare with my own hand.


(image credit)

Now the world is so different.  Millions of fonts can be downloaded with the touch of a button on the keyboard and all of that creativity I used to enjoy has been replaced by technology.  I miss the excitement of buying new ink for my calligraphy pen or having to buy new pencils because I had spent so much time writing that they had all been worn down to little nubs of wood and lead.

Although I began writing my novel in longhand, the novelty wore off when I realized how much faster I could record the ideas on ‘paper’ by using a keyboard.  I do miss the days of the natural flow of ideas from brain to pen or pencil and didn’t have to tune out the incessant clacking of the keys.  Oh, how we suffer now for our arts.  😉



16 thoughts on “Getting the lead out

  1. I think it’s rather sad that penmanship is becoming a lost art. I wonder if we’ll ever do away with signatures as well and just use thumb prints or something. At least we don’t waste so much paper anymore….😄

  2. I miss ‘proper’ writing! I could never concentrate writing my school essays at a computer, too many distractions. So I used to cocoon myself in the library and write my papers by hand… Then I’d type them up later, knowing I could afford to let my mind wander a little if it did, because I’d done all the hard work and structured it already. Not the most efficient process, but it worked for me!

  3. Ah, me too. I remember practicing my grown up writing; it is ridiculously loopy. But I still love to write a ‘g’ or a ‘y’ to do my affected swirl! Mostly I scrawl notes in a sprawling mess of hen scratches. Perhaps it is the artist in me, but I have hung on to a marvellously indecipherable but eloquent signature – fortunate to have a ‘y’ as the final letter – so you can imagine the extravagant flourish!!!!

  4. I used to love to write–but I do find the flow better for me between brain and keyboard thank brain and a pen or pencil–my writing cannot keep up with my thoughts or I cannot remember a thought long enough now to get it down in cursive–I still have to take notes longhand when I cover council as a reporter but that is getting rather old too–am going to have to get brave and take my laptop with me

  5. I love using pen/pencil and paper! I’m much like you that way (though sadly I never had that creative instinct to write plays, etc…I’m not much of a creative writer at all…hence being a journalist 😉 ) I do love handwritten letters though. I do some volunteer work sending letters to deployed military men and women. I have to admit that I type the letters first (namely for editing purposes because I would most likely look like the proverbial writer at the desk with many, many crumpled up pieces of paper all around from having made too many mistakes ha! and I don’t want to waste a bunch of paper) and then I’ll handwrite them. It’s more work, but it’s worth it to me and when I do hear back from a recipient, I typically get complimented on my handwriting and they too are extra grateful for the handwritten note versus typed. I’ve been known to handwrite notes to my friends too for Mother’s Day/Father’s Day or whatever. It just means more to get those things in the mail. 🙂 Lovely post.

  6. Ah, the operative word is “substantive,” isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve written anything substantive by hand since high school.

    That said, putting pen to paper is an important — almost essential — part of my writing process. I outline stories by hand and scratch out troublesome scenes that way as well. The roughness of the not-so-finished product gives me permission me to experiment with “wilder” or “stupider” ideas.

    I’ve managed to pull a lot of good ideas out of stupid ones. So I am fond of pen and paper.

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