Going back to basics

A typerwriter. Pre-computer.

Part of an MFA program, I believe, is the joy of the journey.

Talk to any MFA-er, especially those in my program, and what they will say is that they enjoy their work. That will quickly be followed up with the OMG-I-have-so-much-work face.
I’m serious. It’s an incredible amount of work.
But here’s the thing about incredible amounts of work, eventually you learn something about yourself. For me, is that I actually enjoy writing…again.
Of course me the writer of a writing blog would say that. What I should say is that I enjoy the challenge. The reading fuels the writing and it’s a chance to try on techniques like trying on clothes. What fits? What feels right? What should be left on the hanger? It’s all part of the journey and that’s what it’s all about in the end.
Part of the journey is figuring out what kind of writer you are. What works best for you. So I’m going to take my writing back to basics. Besides reading like a librarian on a deadline, I’m also going to write like other great writers learned to do so — paper and pen.
I guess if I REALLY wanted to go back to basics, I’d use a chisel and stone but I digress.
This is truly insanity. Writing original stories with paper and pen with a packet of work due to my advisor every three weeks. Yowza!
Part of the process of writing is feeling connected to the work, crafting, revision. Though all this can be done with modern tools like a computer, it’s not necessary. Hemingway didn’t write with a laptop. Fitzgerald didn’t craft The Great Gatsby at Starbucks. Garcia Marquez didn’t use internet for research.
Lately, I’m finding the computer distracting. Twitter can be accessed on my laptop with one click. Facebook too. And any place worth their salt has wireless access. It seems like there is every distraction to NOT write and with the MFA schedule, that’s not an option.
So I’ve decided to use paper and pen for the first draft. Then move to that funky looking machine at the top of this post. That is a typewriter and it uses ribbon and ink to put letters on the page. Remember those? And yes, I owe the one in the picture. Actually, I own two. The second one is not electric.
The final draft will be on the computer. Each story will have a minimum of three drafts. Knowing myself there will be more.
But, it’s not about drafting; it’s about being close to the words, avoiding the numbness one gets sometimes. Like a blacksmith works metals, so to will I work the words for my craft. After all, this is MY work, and I have to freedom to do what I need to get the results I want.
Then again, this can all just be silly and I’ll return to my procrastination station and to Twitter, my adored social networking site.
We’ll see how this goes.
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