Write With an Old Fashioned Pen AND Your Computer

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You want people to enjoy reading your writing, yet sometimes you have to admit what you wrote is a trip to Dullsville.

How can you light your writing on fire? Turn up its appeal for readers?

To create fresh, original writing that inspires readers to turn the page and read more, here’s a tip. 

Trained as a journalist, I learned how to write stories on an electric typewriter (home computers weren’t yet a twinkle in Steve Job’s eye.) I have to admit, my writing did the job, but it rarely touched or inspired people and oh! how I wanted to.

In my thirties, after I sobered up from alcohol and eating addictions, a woman named Joy suggested I journal. That’s how I discovered writing with a pen or pencil was different than writing I created on a keyboard.

A pen or pencil freed me from my rational mind. It gave my writing permission to wander off, ramble and tap into my creativity. Writing in my journal, I stumbled into surprising outcomes, dug up new ways of seeing and most important, saw anger, sadness, frustration and happiness tiptoe across the blank pages. (I’d been using my addictions to stay numb as a rock.)

In tears one day after writing in my journal, I telephoned Joy on my rotary dial phone to complain about all the feelings I was having: “Congratulations,” she said. “Good work. You’re on track.”

Good work? On track? If my gosh darn emotions didn’t kill me first. “Just don’t drink or overeat today,” Joy continued. “And journal every day.”

Writing with a pen in my journal did free me from the bondage of my emotions and after awhile I felt so good, I wanted other people to journal.

The problem is, when I wrote about it, I used my journal writing and it wasn’t really interesting to other people.

Yes, they enjoy us sharing honestly, vulnerably, and meaningfully, but if you want your writing to connect with someone other than your mother, the computer is a necessary tool. With it, you transform your personal experiences by craft them into emotional stories that have universal appeal.

That’s what I did. I enlisted my journalism training. By then, electric typewriters had graduated into museums so I bought an Apple home computer. With it, I drew on the emotional journey from my journals AND crafted them into stories as I typed. It worked! People often said what they liked best about my classes is that I shared my stories with them. I’d made them relatable.

Moral of this Story: Or Tip (Whichever Your Want to Call It)

Write a couple of your first drafts with an old fashioned pen or pencil. Writing by hand, according to researchers connects your to your body and heart. It taps into the right side of your brain: draws on your imagination, passion and emotions to create more compelling stories. Then use your computer to create an emotional journey. Those kinds of stories based on your own life experiences will help you teach, inspire, entertain others.

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