Go Big and Go Analog

A simple idea has revolutionized my writing life and made writing my book so much easier.

It does not involve any of the weird writing productivity rituals you read about in writing books and blogs. I’m not writing naked tied to my chair until my husband Bob releases me at the end of the day (thank god), nor do I never check email, and there are no psychoactive substances being ingested to enhance my creativity. 

All I did was get a stack of big, cheap art paper and put it next to my computer.

I’d initially purchased this paper for art-making, thinking I’d be freed up to experiment without the worry of ruining a canvas. But the paper I bought is thin and since I like to create with layers and use a lot of wet media,  I got frustrated and left the paper to sit unused in the basement.

I was reading Austin Kleon and something he wrote about going analog (I can’t find the exact piece but check out his work) made me think of all that big, cheap paper. 

I ran down two flights of stairs and brought up an armful of it and, oh my, it was like the blinders on my imagination flew wide open – snap!

I have always worked “analog” alongside the computer. It’s essential for me to work out my ideas by making a cluster map before I start a blog post or a section of my book. 

When I get stuck writing, I always go back to writing by hand to work my way through it. This frees up my mind because I’m not trying to link up my ideas or find the precise word or image. 

But doing this on big paper made a huge difference (pun intended) because of all the extra space to roam. 

Everything is more expansive on the big paper: my thoughts, the connections between ideas, even my writing confidence. 

And I’m writing so much faster! Something about all that space or perhaps it is just as a moment of grace.

You do NOT need to be a Writer with a capital “W” to use this method — big paper is great for journaling, trip planning, problem-solving, dreaming, and for sure, doodling! 

Get thee to an art supply store!

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