Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Writing

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is writing.

I don't do much handwriting anymore, and lately I have noticed the quality of my handwriting is going down. My signature has become a hurried scribble, my notes to Paula's teachers look like Paula could have written them. In fact, Paula has better handwriting than I do.

I used to love writing checks, as recently as four years ago. Those times are long gone. The convenience of automatic drafts, ATMs and check cards has turned checks into an oddity, an anachronism. I am OK with that, but I do miss writing the occasional check.

At work I still take notes by hand, but they are almost laconic. The full summaries are fleshed out on my computer, usually as e-mails. My job has definitely changed the way I write. I illustrate trends, I make charts. I write bullet points. When you have to capture the attention of people who have little time to give you, you learn to be succint. When you have to boil down complex issues into a high-level executive synopsis, it's hard not to continue that approach outside of work.

Like thousands of people, most of my writing nowadays is done on the computer. IM, e-mail, blogging, private group boards, you name it. When I was pregnant with my second daughter I gravitated towards a baby website. Through that website, and the private groups that spun off it, I have connected with so many great women. My relationships with them, save for two or three with whom I have had actual face-to-face encounters, consist of written exchanges. We have great conversations, we have had drama too. I have come to appreciate some of them, even care for them, very much. And yet we have never talked on the phone or seen each other. Such is the power of the written word.

I always say I miss writing with a pen on paper; keeping a handwritten journal, maybe one of those beautiful ones you can buy at bookstores. Unfortunately I don't have the patience to do that. While it is tempting to blame the ubiquitous computer for my inability to keep a handwritten record of my thoughts, the truth is that over the years I started keeping journals at various times and was never able to continue beyond a few days' worth of entries.

My blog is the longest-running production I have ever kept. I am amazed at how long I have kept it going, 10 months now. Keeping a blog has allowed me to resume my pursuit of writing, and has connected me to a wonderful new community of friends. I know that the reason why I have kept it so long is because I have an audience to write to. When I started the blog my focus was very much into doing my own thing. Now I think about who reads my blog when I write, and await with enthusiasm the comments I receive.

There will always be writing in my life, whether it's by hand or computer or whatever medium comes in the future. I am looking forward to this evolution.


  1. This is all so true, Ingrid! I really do wish that I could be inspired to handwrite in a lovely journal - I even have a couple laying around. But blogging has truly brought our writing to a new level - instant feedback and encouragement - I know that's what keeps us going! I love your writing efforts, it is always a pleasure to visit here!

  2. i do miss the look of my handwritten journaling's ... i may be weird,, but i love the way my handwriting looks,, it is bold and distinctive.. and i love it,, i am proud o it... but i never use it... i think way to fast to write by hand any more... i don't know how i ever did it... i miss it... but i just couldn't get away with it anymore....

  3. I was just thinking about this same thing -- and thinking of blogging about it -- how I miss hand writing letters and how little use my hand written journal has seen in recent years. I'm writing more than ever, just in a different medium...

  4. Great post.
    I have taken on the task of handwriting my cousin 2-3 times a week. She is starting college and I want to be a good suppor for her.
    my handwriting has degraded so is realy taking me awhile to get used to it. I find myself rushing...and skipping letters in words. IT is so bad. I hope that after a few months, I'll see some improvement.

  5. Blogging has taken its toll. We seldom write but one good thing about teaching it I do write. Though I do mostly mathematics problems on paper but that IS writing.

  6. I STILL love a very sharp, yellow, number 2 pencil made of wood. There isn't anything like the feeling of writing, drawing or just doodling with a good old fashioned pencil.

  7. I am and have alway been very much in love with the writing tools, definitely. I buy all kinds of pens and pencils. I love notecards. I always look longingly at the blank journals at my neighborhood Barnes and Noble. At work I have pens with different colored ink (green, red, black, blue, even pink).

    Yet despite all that, I still have trouble putting pen to paper.

  8. I, too, have lost any handwriting skills and desire I once might have had. My mind goes blank until it's connected to the keyboard. Strange! And, yes, an audience is a fine thing while the exchange between reader and writer is so immediate as to be a magical event. Nice post. I'll read more!