Laptop-Free Day 3

Day Three without my laptop and I do feel lost. (See last blog.) I bought a small spiral notebook that fits nicely under the Magnificat missal I carry with me. That’s how I’m able to capture my thoughts wherever I am. There is a certain freedom to this retro method.  A laptop doesn’t work nearly as well as a notebook when you’re sitting on the lanai or lounging on the beach.

On this laptop-free day I write in my notebook: "Composing with pen and paper with no computer is like riding a bicycle when your car is in the shop. You remember how to move forward and it gets the job done eventually but with so much more effort and time expended. For a short time it is scenic and exhilarating."

Even though I edit the first sentence before I finish writing it, I enjoy writing like this. Regressing to a simpler state of life and productivity process brings out the childhood way of creating.  When I learned to write the alphabet and soon after my first poems the only way available was putting pencil to paper. Then from pen to typewriter to computer I soon could pound out the words almost as fast as I could think. My Mac, on my lap or hooked up to my desktop monitor and keyboard, has become my creative companion. But not on this little journey!

This no-laptop jaunt has forced upon me the opportunity to create in the natural way I learned as a child. I find it as delightful as a bike ride.

Later I can edit and polish my notes using all my editorial skills and experience. My Internet resources will check my grammar and spelling and find the perfect word in the thesaurus. This will happen when the finishing equipment is available—the essential vehicle of the computer.

Yes, I miss the speed and convenience of my writing companion, neglected and waiting on my desk at home. But the scenic ride is so refreshing. And I have a much better writing companion in the Lord.

As I write in my notebook I visualize a bicycle for two. But who is controlling the bike, the Lord or me? With him in charge, the route is always unpredictable, sometimes scary but invariably exciting.

Could pen and paper emerge as my preferred creative process when I originate each new article or blog? First, I can enjoy the charming scenery of the leisurely bike ride in the presence of the Lord as I write in my notebook. Then I can reach my destination efficiently by car using the computer. Perhaps I have found the quirky way I work the best, first keeping the Lord on the bicycle seat in front of me and then in the driver’s seat next to me.

From pencil and paper to super-efficient computers, the Lord keeps riding along with me. He inspires me to share in unique ways his awesome life from within my grateful heart.

Whether you create on a computer, in a scrapbook, on a canvas or sewing machine, how have your creative practices changed over the years? Do you sense the Lord drawing you back to simpler ways and deeper into his presence?

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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