Back in the days when people wrote on typewriters, the adage went, “Writing is easy. You stare at a blank sheet of paper till blood pops out of your forehead.”

Now it isn’t a blank sheet of paper, it’s a shining screen, photons of white light beaming your brain.

The fluidity and immediacy of the shining screen seem to demand that perfection appear—right now. There’s nothing like expecting perfection to stop you in your tracks.

I’m a huge fan of scribbling. The award-winning, bestselling author Jennifer Egan has said she writes entire books by hand before she turns on the computer. I don’t necessarily advocate that, but sketching out your scene/outline/story, allowing your thoughts to flow freely without the pressure of perfection, goes a long way toward helping you make words appear on the shining screen.

I’m a huge fan of Blackfeet Indian pencils and Moleskines. Henri Matisse and Ernest Hemingway wrote they never went anywhere without a Moleskine. A Moleskin is a five-and-a-half inch by three-and-a-half inch slim notebook of unlined paper. The cover is so thin and flexible, you can open it flat and not worry about ring binders (always a problem for left-handers like me).

With a Blackfeet pencil and a Moleskine, you don’t need batteries, electrical outlets, or a carrying case. No one will knock you down and seize your Moleskin the way they may if you’re lugging a two-thousand-dollar laptop. You can scribble in your Moleskine in a bright café, a sunlit meadow, or a dark bar. And if someone—friend or stranger—wants to know what you’re working on, you simply close the Moleskine, slip it in your jacket pocket, smile enigmatically, and say, “None of your damn business.”

Writing is a process though often it doesn’t feel that way when you’re struck with an inspiration, with a holistic vision of your book, and you’re aching to see it done—right now. I’ve said writing is a road trip, a mountain climb. Dare I also say writing is like birthing a baby? No person on the planet goes from conception to full-blown adult instantly. Many people haven’t achieved full adulthood after thirty years. (Joking.) Like life, a story, let alone a book, takes time and commitment.

So there you have it, my friends. If you can bang out a first draft on a computer from scratch, more power to you. By all means, go for it. All this technology is incredible for inputting, revising, editing, and polishing. I don’t know how people ever wrote and published entire books before computers, but obviously they did, sometimes writing masterpieces. But if you’re stuck on the shining screen, turn off the computer and reach for a pencil and paper.

New! Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords (all other readers). Short fantasy and science fiction by Lisa Mason published in magazines and anthologies worldwide.

From the author of Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, , US Kindle, UK Kindle, and Smashwords, The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, Smashwords, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more, on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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