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What's your right way to write?


I wrote the first draft of this post in my writing notebook. It's a leather bound journal that I bought from Harry Potter World in Universal Studios in Orlando. It has the word "Quidditch" printed on it in gold lettering and a drawing of the golden snitch decorates the front cover above it.


I turned to a random page in this journal today to find pieces of my last novel, Neighborhood Watch scribbled in there. The writing runs across the page like a runaway train. There are several cross outs and lines are drawn that indicate new sections of the text. I haven't written in a notebook in quite some time, as I conduct most of my writing on Google Docs these days. But writing seems to take on a whole new meaning when thrown haphazardly across paper rather than when it's neatly typed out. Whatever thoughts come to mind tend to flow out versus me staring at a screen and waiting for inspiration to spark.


I've had writing notebooks at all times in my life. I kept a log on our little league baseball season, writing game recaps, filling in lineups, and even cutting out pictures of my favorite MLB stars and pasting them on the pages. I still have it around somewhere, and it's a rather entertaining chronicle of that part of my life.


In high school, words flew out of my pen to form poem after poem. And then after falling in love with Gary Larson, I took a stab at drawing my own version of Far Side cartoons. One of my novels, Crash and Burn, was born out of a creative writing project I wrote in one of these journals.


Computers are fantastic, but they are only one medium to write the perfect words. I recall writing a poem for an open-mic one night on a napkin, and then reading it on stage off that same napkin. I'd always draw and write on the back of restaurant placemats as kid. The first thing I did when I'd sit down at a table or a booth was to turn that placemat over and start doodling or writing.


My great aunt had a typewriter, and I remember having the privilege of typing up a few sentences on that beauty. I was only a kid, but I recall the lovely click and clack each time I'd type a letter. It was just me, the keys, and the paper. Nothing else. I was only a kid, but I appreciated it.


There was an author talk I attended at my local library a number of years back and the author was talking about how she published her book. She was a teacher and said that she saved time writing by talking into a tape recorder about the things she wanted to type. I've heard about people doing this, but I always thought it would be incredibly difficult for me to do. My brain just doesn't work that way. I have to see the words as I write them and feel my hands on the keys or as they move with a pen or a pencil.


But what I have found is that writing through different mediums can produce different results. I often find that writing with a pen in a notebook can be liberating, but it also cramps my hand. I've found that typing helps me focus my ideas, but it also tires out my eyes. Yet whatever the medium that you choose to write with, the message is what's important. Writing on this blog is another medium in that I share my writing with you daily. I force myself to write daily for both myself and for you, the reader.


This is a good thing. I want to share whatever I write with you, no matter how silly or how serious it is. I hope it will make you laugh, think, smile, or connect with something in your life or in the real world. And that's what writing is all about, no matter what medium it's written in.

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