Putting Pen To Paper
I have begun this week by physically putting my words down on paper using a pen. I’ve mostly fallen out of the habit of writing out my stories, or anything longer than a shopping list or birthday card, but I owed a few people some lengthy letters.
Part of the reason I stopped using a pen and paper to write was because my hand could never keep up with my thoughts. My handwriting would deteriorate into a battlefield of warring letters, and I struggled to read what I’d written.
Like so many of my compatriots, I learned to touch-type in school. It’s one of the most useful skills I’ve ever learned, and it has stood me in good stead over the years. It’s also a skill that’s made me slightly more careless with my thoughts and infinitely more vulnerable to distractions. Flipping open my laptop could just as easily mean falling down a YouTube or Facebook rabbit hole as actually doing some constructive writing on any of the many works I have in progress.
So, kicking off this week with writing out this post, and letters to friends, has forced me to slow my thinking, to plan more carefully what I want to say, and yes, to re-ignite neural pathways that have grown dark and musty from lack of use.
For the next two weeks, I’m going to try writing for a minimum of ten minutes, using a pen and paper, every day. I’m stepping away from my laptop and my phone for that time, and allowing my fingers to feel the weight of a pen and the comfort of the touch of paper against my skin. It doesn’t much matter what I write in that time. It’s the mechanical act of forming letters and words, of slowing my thinking and taking more care that’s important. I’ll report back on whether I notice a difference in my productivity, my thinking, or my motivation.
Will you join me?
July Poetry Slam: Palinode
This month’s Poetry Slam features the palinode, which is Greek for “counterpoem” – retract your own ideas or join Team Petty as we recycle and revise poetry that needs a second look. Learn more from Rowan here.
Prompt Up is our optional weekly writing prompt for the fiction|poetry challenge! Here’s how it works: we choose a sentence prompt from last week’s winning nonfiction post and announce it in the kickoff. It’s your job to use that prompt in your poem or story and then run with it. The prompt is just a springboard, though: feel free to use it as your first sentence, move it, change it, or float it down to other territories.
Trish took us to her childhood in South Africa in her essay Running Away From Home. This week’s prompt, taken from her piece, is: “We never knew when they would arrive.”
How to submit and fully participate in the challenge:
Basic YeahWrite guidelines: 750 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; fiction or poetry only.
1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the fiction|poetry badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry;
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid;
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message;
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge; and
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog.
Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.
Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…
About the author:
Asha keeps moving from one side of the world to the other. Her most recent move has taken her back to Perth, Western Australia where she grew up. She lives near the beach but hates sand between her toes. It’s a real conundrum. Asha began blogging at YeahWrite in October 2014 with this post, and YeahWrite was lucky to pull her on board as a Contributing Editor in December 2016. She is currently working on a novelette that grew from a series of flash fiction pieces. Asha is published in a variety of places including Modern Loss, PANK, Dead Housekeeping, and SheKnows. You can find her inconsistent blogging at Parenting In The Wilderness, or at her fiction blog, FlAsha Tales.