Sunday, September 27, 2009

Instruments of Creation

It used to be that if you did an author talk, one of the questions you were sure to be asked was, "Do you write with a pen or on the computer?" I haven't heard this question for ages, maybe because these days we assume everyone uses the keyboard, and pens are passe. Recently, Bic released an Anniversary edition of their famous 4-colour pen - the limited-edition pen comes with purple, pink, green and aqua ink, instead of the usual black, blue, red and green. I have to say I've never used this pen in my life. It just seemed such a waste to buy a pen like that and only use the black ink!

Maybe I'd play with the new colours, but probably not. Like many writers I know, I have certain pens that I love to use, and others I reject. Reasons for rejection might be the pen is too thin to grip (I've had RSI problems for years), or the nib is no good. There are lots of roller ball pens I won't touch because I know I'll wreck the little ball in no time. Others are no good because I wear one side down and then the pen will no longer write properly. I like a pen that writes smoothly, no matter what (or how hard I press down, obviously!), and that I can grip properly.

Ah, pens... And then we move on to keyboards. My big test for a laptop is how the keys feel when I bash them. OK, I don't bash them in the shop, but I give them a bit of a workout, all the same. They do all feel different (try it sometime). I love the little laptops that are out now, but I can just see myself, elbows cocked way up in the air, neck straining, as I try to get my fingers onto the tiny keyboard properly. Not likely. I used to have an ergonomic keyboard for my RSI, but in the end it didn't make much difference. It was the height of the keyboard that was the main factor.

Pen or keyboard - both are instruments of creation for writers. And also instruments of destruction. My osteopath is forever scolding me for what he sees are the results of poor computer habits. I have a ganglion on my wrist (from the mouse) and constant neck and shoulder problems. All self-inflicted. But I am learning to take notice of the warning twinges, and get up and stretch, or have a rest for a while. I'm also trying harder to do the exercises I've been given. I wish I could say going back to the pen would solve these problems, but it won't. The damage has been done.
OK, I'm off now to do my doorway stretches!


Karen Tyrrell said...

Hi Sherryl,
Loved reading your Blog.
I have a preference for Blue Ink writing my first draft. And Red Ink Editing on my final printed Draft.
Karen Tyrrell

Sherryl said...

It's great how everyone has their own "thing" - I like black pens but for revision I use a lot of colour. Purple usually, or fluoro highlighters.