I admit that I’m at a bit of a crossroads when it comes to my fiction writing. I LOVE writing and can’t imagine a life without it. But it’s been feeling more cumbersome over the past year or so — I think because I’m writing on a computer.
Back in the day — yeah, I’m one of those people who still uses that phrase — when I first started writing, I had a blast with it. Now, for clarity’s sake, you should know that I started out writing Star Trek: The Next Generation fanfiction. (don’t know what fanfic is? Google it). Not exactly strenuous storytelling, mind you, because the characters and the settings were already created. That meant nothing to think up. No personalities to make interesting. No time and place to create. No background (that never makes it to paper but that’s critical to storytelling anyway) to conceive.
All the hard work was already done for me by someone else. All I had to do was to take my favorite characters, make up a new storyline, and run with it.
And, I did it all in a notebook.
Fast forward years (and years, and years), and I’m now a published author who creates her own characters and storylines and backgrounds. And I’m still LOVING it. But something’s changed, and more so recently. Like, say, over the past year. Something feels off, and not as fun.
Not as creative.
Maybe part of that change came with actually getting published last year — more demands of my time now, more pressure and deadlines, more marketing, blahblahblah. You know, the stuff that the reader never knows about but that makes a writer insane.
But I don’t think that’s all of it. I’m seriously starting to think that maybe, just maybe, that shift came with working more and writing more on my laptop.
Here’s the thing. Writing on a laptop can make things move fast. I mean, I can type a hell of a lot faster than I could ever write longhand. BUT…I get pulled in by email, flagged by updates in social media, and (here’s where I break out in hives) sidetracked by all of Word’s reminders that I’ve spelled something wrong, written an incomplete sentence, or misused grammar. My screen is a bunch of highlights, all screaming for attention to be fixed. And this is all on what’s supposed to be a draft.
Back in the day (there I go again) when I wrote in my notebooks, I felt liberated. I also felt like I had less prying eyes around me. Let’s face it. Commuting to NYC every day with a laptop, banging out words and scenes, makes me feel uncomfortable (and this is the only time and place I can write my fiction). I always feel like someone’s peeking over my shoulder, even if no one actually is. And that becomes inhibiting. But with a notebook, I can keep the flap up and hide my work, and really feel like I’m immersed in the world I’m creating even if the process is slower because my hand can only move so fast with a pen. But there are no squiggly marks or popups telling me I screwed up the English language, damn it! No emails or texts or anything to distract me and my creativity.
It’s nirvana. Pure writing freedom.
Oh, and another plus? It’s lighter to carry!
I’m going to give it a go. I’m going to try my hand (pun! pun!) at writing the way I used to write and see where it takes me. Add to the fact that I’m also trying to write as a panster instead of as a write-itor, and my storytelling life should become even more interesting.
Are these excuses for not writing a certain way? Or for not focusing as much as I should? I have no idea. Maybe. But mostly I just want to find that passion again, and I think simplicity may be the way to do it. Because, honestly, I don’t think computers (or technology) are making my life all that much simpler anymore. At least not my writing life.
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