I think differently with a pen or pencil in my hand. Even if I am not using it! There are synapses in my brain that only fire when my hand is holding a writing stick. I have been pondering how this came to be.
I learned to write, as most of us did, in primary school and, by the end, I wrote in a close to legible cursive. I liked to write in those days and turned out many pages of stories.
I learned to properly letter in drafting classes in middle school. I spent hours learning to print and make clear sketches. I think that is when the brain connections really started to form. From then on I always printed unless I was required to do otherwise.
When I was younger my printing was easier to read than type written. Now my hands are stiffer, especially when it is a bit chilly and my letters are more like italics, the letters tend to connect together and it takes effort to achieve a standard hand. This may be due to typing so much more, it takes different hand muscles.
I learned to type my freshman year of high school, 1976, on an IBM Selectric.The typing grade dragged down my GPA. They made me take it because I was a girl. They said you had to be able to type to get a job as a secretary. I passionately hated typing. I was the slowest in the class, the teacher gave me a pity grade of B for the second semester because I tried so hard. The thought of having to do anything with typing for the rest of my life was depressing.
I was much happier in drafting class and always got good grades on my lettering. I was even happier in physics where my clear sketches and printing and, believe it or not, thinking skills, were appreciated. I stopped writing stories.
In college an electric typewriter was a requirement, word processors were starting to peak over the horizon, but they were harder to use than some programming languages are today (does anyone remember Word Star?) and there was no computer access to speak of. I wrote everything out, turned it in printed if I could get away with it and painstakingly typed out if I couldn’t. But I was glad I had learned to type: I took a computer programming course and it made inputting programs much easier. Many of the guys hadn’t been forced to take typing and I had a bit of an advantage.
Slow forward to today: I still brainstorm, outline, sketch and doodle with a pen or pencil, even though I have a blazing peak typing speed of about 20 words a minute. I think that having a holistic idea of what I want to say scribbled on some bit of paper helps me to compose. That said absolutely nothing beats a computer for ease of editing.
So here I sit at the computer with a writing stick and pad by my right hand. Even if I don’t use it it helps me think.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”