Open Your Notebook Newsletter – Volume 1, Issue 2

I can tell, when (students) bring their final manuscripts (typed up) to
workshop who is writing by hand and who isn’t. It’s like looking at
scarves made by machine, and scarves knit by hand by a dear dear
friend. Two different beasts
.”  – Heather Sellers, author of Page After Page

There was a time when penmanship
was a subject in school. Then, typing became a class and penmanship was
reduced to a comment on report cards. Finally, the curriculum shifted
again and typing transitioned into keyboarding. But the experience of
creation is different when you handwrite than it is when you type on a
typewriter or keyboard at your computer. Writing is as much a physical
act as it is a mental one.
Every issue we implore you to
“open your notebook” and we mean just that. Hold paper in your hand –
touch a pen or pencil to paper – and write these exercises like that.
Write your professional papers, articles, letters, etc. on a computer
if you must, but when working on your writing skills, trust us when we
say that you tap something different in your brain holding a pen than
you do with fingers resting lightly on a keyboard.
It’s the difference between
using a knife, fork, and spoon at the table and using your fingers to
eat a meal. No matter how gorgeous your silver pattern – or how
eco-friendly your plastic utensils – touching the food changes the
eating experience.
Open Your Notebook and
spend 10 minutes focusing on the feel of your pen or pencil on the
paper. Start by writing, “My (pen/pencil) is (color) and glides across
the paper like…” From there, it’s up to you. Do you continue to
describe the sensory experience, the difference in your thought
patterns, the application of a tactile experience in the work you do?
Or, do you let a stream of conscious writing emerge? It doesn’t really
matter, so long as you write it!


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