The BBC just ran a lovely article about typewriters and their use in the digital age. It made me think about the creative process behind this blog, if you could call it creative. It lead me to conduct an experiment which I will tell you about later. The article also made me think about the methodology I use to write this blog. All in all it was a very thought provoking article.
There really isn’t an actual creative process behind this blog. In fact, I mostly set out with only a broad idea of what I’m going to write before I start. Most of the time this works out ok. Sometimes however, I find myself deleting sentences of even whole paragraphs simply because they “came out wrong”, or because it sounded shit. I used to be a far better, and much more prodigious writer than I am now. I remember in school once, when tasked with a theme-less two page essay for homework, coming back with a twenty page short story. It was a pretty good story too, which may well still be back in Ireland somewhere.
For me, that short story was a trigger. It opened the door for me to a whole new world of words. A world where I was the lord and master, where I made the decisions. To a kid of seven or eight (I can’t remember which) that was heady stuff indeed. I have all but forgotten that feeling now, it is lost in these digital decades, banished in the cacophony of new and ephemeral delights. Something happened today though, which brought it back to me.
I decided to write this blog entry. I don’t mean write as in compose, I mean it from the “pen and paper” perspective. I have a very old notebook that I have used for a long time to jot down ideas. There are pages ripped out everywhere, the spine is cracked, and the paper has changed colour from white of cream. I believe this was a present from my long-dead aunt, which would make it at least fifteen years old. I tell you this to illustrate that this notebook and my have a long history. There aren’t many empty pages anymore, but I found some in the middle and started to write this blog post.
I am now on my second page, and I suspect that this will be one of the better written entries on DaveWhite.Net, from both a technical and creative perspective. (Do let me know if you find it so, or indeed if you find it all a load of drivel. I would be interested in different perspectives on this. Click the title above and leave a comment at the end of the page). It seems there may actually be some truth in that BBC article, and I might well make this a permanent part of my creative process. Hell, until I get to the point where I fully understand my it, then this IS my creative process.
Up until now, I have never really cared about structure too much. My blog entries have usually contained a single idea that I wished to share and maybe expand on. Either that or they were factual representations of things that happened, in the format of a diary I wanted made public. (There used to be further data in this blog that was unpublished thoughts I intended to keep personal, but I lost them somewhere along the line). It was mostly stream of consciousness, mildly organised before I spewed it onto the Internet. This time however, I find myself checking back over the pages and looking to form a more coherent piece. I haven’t completely succeeded, as this paragraph should be earlier in the entry. I find this process much more comfortable though. It is harder work, and takes longer to get right, but maybe that should be the whole idea. Maybe it should be harder to write blog entries than I thought it should. If so, then it only took me ten years to find out.
What can I say? Thank you BBC.co.uk.
BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Why typewriters beat computers