Journal logo

What You Write With

by Nathan J Bonassin 9 days ago in advice

Writers Are Idiosyncratic

What You Write With
Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

For a lot of writers, writing is as much about their level of comfort as it is the actual writing process. Some writers can tell you, at length, about the process. The process is as much about the writing as it is about the writing tool. I have known writers who are so temperamental about their writing implements, that they have them organized better than their filing cabinets. Hence the picture above.

It is easy to fall into the trap of only writing when it is comfortable. Writers who only write with their favorite pens or notebooks, or on their laptops, or in their favorite chairs, fall into a system of not writing because it’s not how they want it to be. Sometimes, writing isn’t about being comfortable. Writing is about getting the words out of our heads on onto the page.

I’m not a mind reader and I can’t read what’s going in your mind. If you are a writer, and have words in your head, write the words down so I can read your words on the page.

But, you have to get out of your comfort zone first. If as a writer, you are struggling with a bout of writer’s block, it’s a real thing no matter what anybody tells, change up your surroundings.

I’m sorry to tell you this, but getting out of your comfort zone, might just mean trying a different pen or writing on a PC vs a Mac or using a tablet. Try different applications to get the words flowing. Use different techniques to break down that mental block.

I carry the same pen in my pocket every day. It’s not because it’s my favorite pen, but it’s shiny and looks good sitting on a table in meetings. It’s not what I write with on a regular basis though. They’re not quite as organized as the picture above, far from it, but the collection is there. No matter which pen I write with, I have never found one that makes it look like I didn’t just write it down with my foot. But, changing the pen, sometimes, is just enough of change to get things going for me.

Almost as bad as the obsession over the right pen, is the obsession over the right journal to take notes in. I have for years been a part of the cult following of Moleskine. I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the way it carries, or the elastic band that goes around it, or the ribbon you mark your page with. But then one day I was in a store and found a Moleskine knockoff for around 25% of the price. Being the journal collector that I am, I picked it up, took it the register, and left the store with it. When I got it home to use it, the experience hadn’t changed at all. I was still able to write.

The journal hadn’t changed my ability to put words to paper. Turns out, it wasn’t the secret to my writing ability.

I don’t to say that writers with idiosyncrasies are crazy. Idiosyncrasies are part of life and can be a part of the process for a lot of different types of people from athletes to writers. I do want to say that you are not your idiosyncrasies. Don’t get in the trap of believing that just because the pen or the tablet or the laptop or even the coffee shop gave you the ability to create what you wrote. Write in any type of setup you feel comfortable, just know that as you continue to write, you need to try to new things to keep it from going stale. Do what you need to do to keep the magic alive.

Nathan J Bonassin
Nathan J Bonassin
Read next: Work Cycle
Nathan J Bonassin

See all posts by Nathan J Bonassin

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links