December 7, 2010

Good Ol' Pen and Paper

I would just like to say that I would NOT have made a good pioneer.


I'm way too fond of modern conveniences like coffee makers, central heating, and indoor plumbing.  How did those poor people face the day without a nice hot shower?  Lyndon B. Johnson, our former president who wasn't even a pioneer, said, "Every man has the right to a Saturday night bath."  Really?  Once a week?

Not only that, but as soon as cold weather hits I'm all about staying warm.  I don't know about you, but heading out into sub-zero temperatures to fetch water and slop the hogs wearing nothing but buffalo skins or whatever does not sound fun.  No down jackets or GORE-TEX or thermacheck fleece for the pioneers!

So it may come as a surprise to you that I like to write my first drafts by hand.

That's right.  Good ol' pen and paper.

There is something about physically writing down the words that helps the cogs turn.  I like the feel of the pen in my hand moving across the paper as the words flow from my mind.  Somehow, it helps.  Once I've got a first draft, I type it into my high-tech very un-pioneer-like Mac book and revise from there.  But the initial ideas always begin as ink on paper.  Is that backward?  Or just quaint?

Now don't go thinking I'm turning all old-fashioned on you.  I didn't say parchment and quill.  I'm not about to trade in the Dogmobile (for the uninitiated, that's my 2002 Toyota Sienna) for a horse and buggy.

Although I do love horses.

And actually, what with the holidays approaching, a sleigh and some jingle bells might be kind of fun...

Maybe there's a hint of pioneer in me after all!  But I draw the line at slopping the hogs if I'm only going to get a bath on Saturday!

What about you?  Do you like to write on a computer or by hand?  What's your favorite modern convenience - the reason you couldn't be a pioneer?  Please share your comments!


  1. I start with a pen and a notebook, as well, Susanna. My first two drafts are done this way. It may be encouraging to note that this was also part of Rachel Carson's process. :) Teri

  2. That is VERY encouraging, Teri - definitely the kind of company I'm glad to keep! Thanks!

  3. Well, I first wrote with a TYPEWRITER! (Wow! talk about antiquated!) Then I switched to computer for long works. My poetry is still done with pen and paper, songs (lyrics) the same way.

    Some of my poetry can be seen on my blog -- including OPPOSITES, TAKE ME TO THE GRAVEYARD, a couple Twitter poems ("State Fair Time", ECHOES OF SILENCE, and some more.

  4. Ah, yes, the un-missed days of white-out! I'll have to check out your blog.


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