Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quill And Ink

Sometimes when I sit down to write a rough draft I find myself dragging my feet. The mind wonders, I sit pondering too long how I want to take control of a particular scene, and by the end of the day, I may have written only a couple of pages. I believe I just found an interesting way to help me push through those particularly trying attempts at writing.

This past May when I was touring the old prison/castle complex in Paris, I purchased an appropriate souvenir: an old style writing quill, the kind with a metallic nib that you dip into a bottle of ink. When I got home I bought a bottle of black India ink with the intention of scribbling out a few letters and poems with it, but the quill has largely remained untouched on my desktop. Until today. I was having one of those moments where I just couldn't force the scene onto the paper (yes, I write every rough draft longhand in a fat 5-subject, college-ruled notebook), and out of an attempt to avoid writing anything else, I dragged out the ink bottle, dipped, and started tracing the few sentences I had managed to write over the past hour. Well, once I dipped that quill, I was worried that the ink would dry or drip and be wasted, so I just kept writing. What I wrote was rushed and likely VERY nasty, but before I knew it, I had plunged through a page and half of stuff that likely would've taken me the rest of the day.

So my new method of conquering these fruitless hours of sitting and staring at the page will be to open my bottle of India ink and write, write, write before the ink can dry on the nib. It's all about slogging through the sections you're not so sure about to reach the sections you feel sure about, to just get the idea out already and not worry about the finer details until that first draft is complete.

I hope this method continues to work...

1 comment:

Cort L. Lynn said...

So far it has! But my, oh, my, have I got a stained finger. What a mess Shakespeare and Austen must've been all the time! Using a bottle of ink, has caused me to appreciate our modern pens and my beloved pump pencils. But there's just something lovely about that ink flowing onto the page -- and the attention I have to give to my penmanship, ahem.