Let's get physical

Word Count: 253                   Reading time: 1-2 mins. 

In her book Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg asserts Writing is physical and is affected by the equipment you use. She advocates the importance of writing with pen and paper, an approach supported by Patrick E. McLean in his light-hearted essay A Defense of Writing Longhand. Both these thinkers agree that writers need to play with the physical, keyboard-free aspect of writing.

Among other things, Goldberg suggests writing on a big drawing pad because she says our tools affect the way we form our thoughts. What is a bigger, more essential tool in writing than our body and brain? In Writing is not Healthy A.J. Jacobs outlines the health risks associated with being a writer. They are many. If you’re a worrier I suggest you don’t read it. His article reminded me of this quote from Herophilus:

When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless and intelligence cannot be applied.

I constantly have anywhere from 3-5 manual writing notebooks on the go. Occasionally I pick up a pencil to sketch one of my characters or scenes, so I guess I meet the use-a-different tool challenge. The instrument that needs greater care is my body. On that note I think I’ll stop typing and go for a walk.

What physical tools do you do use to dig deep into your psyche? What about that most essential piece of equipment – your body? How do you keep yourself strong and fresh for writing?


Photo by: Dmitry Maslov