Beauty from scribbles

IMG_0987There’s nothing worse than feeling like my time writing has gone to waste. The backspace key sometimes feels like my best friend. More than once, I’ve let hours slip by pressing “delete” more  than even typing words. All I’m left with is a blank document staring me in the face and that guilty feeling that I should have been doing something more productive with my time.

As a kid, I used to always take paper from our printer. I’d steal a stack and fold it hamburger-style into a book. I’d bring it with me everywhere–the car, my grandparents’ house, church–composing my latest pencil-written novel and completely butchering the spellings of  words.

Over the years, though, notebooks and journals began to scare me (especially the ones with pretty covers). I felt like I couldn’t write anything in them until I was sure of the exact wording I would use, the exact characters I wanted to write about, etc. I thought that I needed to do journals justice somehow. But recently, I’ve started to realize how beautiful scribbles and crossed out words look. It means you’ve tried. You’ve spent your time on something, and you have marks to show for it.

That is why I started keeping a creative writing journal a few years ago. So that I have the freedom to mess up, cross out, scribble, doodle, etc. So that I have something to show for my time instead of a blank screen. I also insist on using a pen so that I can’t erase my mistakes. And yes, it’s messy. It leaves my hand cramped and ink smeared on my skin (yay for being a leftie). But it’s freeing. And believe it or not, it’s actually fun to look back and see both things I’ve written and things I’ve crossed out. I enjoy seeing my process.

In the end, I’ve decided I would rather be left with a page full of scribbled-out words and blots of ink than a snow-white screen.



5 thoughts on “Beauty from scribbles”

  1. It me.
    The main reason I threw away most of my partially filled notebooks was, rather than wanting to write exactly the right words, I’ve always been super defensive about other people seeing my work until it’s “ready.” Pages on a computer are easier to keep secure…but also way easier to delete forever, like you said. In my case, having a blog saved me. I at least have partial motivation to save what I write in case my post deadline comes around and I got nothing… oh boy, is that today? I gotta go.
    Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I’ve started to realize how beautiful scribbles and crossed out words look. It means you’ve tried. You’ve spent your time on something, and you have marks to show for it.”

    I love this. Backspacing may make for a cleaner page, but it hides how much of writing is messing up and trying again. I’m inspired to go back to pen and paper for my first drafts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is great, Em! Reading this is further feeling my inspiration to get back to doing more writing. Thanks! ( I forgot you were left-handed, too!) 🙂


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