Tumblr Post #23 (January 2019)
Who would have thought that the medium on which one writes would be just as important as what is being written? That’s the question I had to ask myself upon receiving a birthday gift that would transform my entire writing experience. For starters, I hadn’t written anything in months.
Was the novel on my mind? Of course.
Did I want to write? Without question.
Did I have time to write? Define “time”.
When I was on my A-game, I had three separate notebooks devoted to writing this novel: my faithful green friend, a college-ruled spiral notebook devoted to Tomi Adeyemi’s plot development masterclass, and another spiral notebook devoted to first draft material. It was a flimsy little thing: frayed corners, cover sheet torn away, exposing a college-ruled sheet of paper protected by clear packing tape—as if that could protect that very page from tearing away just as easily. When I began writing in that notebook, I was so convinced that that one would house my first draft material that I wrote an opening statement on the first page to consecrate it. It reads as follows:
“So I’ve decided that this is now my official writing notebook designated for 1st draft material. I didn’t necessarily want to use my plot development notebook for 1st draft material, and I am getting tired of jumping between 3 almost-full notebooks to write, so cheers to this one for containing Ch.10 of the [UNAMED NOVEL] onward. May seeds of greatness be planted on these pages and may an aspiring author look to these pages like I look to the pages of Octavia Butler. I see you. I’ve been where you are. And I am proof that you can make it too.”
I was on that tip.
And if I’m being completely honest with myself, I still am. I write for me, so that I can process what’s going on in my life. I write for my future self, so I may have proof of how far I’ve gotten and that my lessons may not fade into obscurity. I also write for the abstract, unknown reader who will surely come across my writings one day in the future.
I write for the future. And this was the impetus for the consecration/letter to a future reader/author.
I had good intentions. What I didn’t have was a solid foundation.
I made a resolute statement on a medium that was not strong enough to hold the weight of it. I thought I could build a house on sand instead of stone. And not being aware of that has surely cost me valuable writing time.
Enter the birthday notebook with its warm golds, cool blues and mystic purples. A present gifted to me from a dear friend of mine, this journal came at a time when I had no drive to write and was basically calling myself a writer without doing the work of a writer. It arrived with sturdiness—lines absent from its pages. Acrylic colors painted on its cover that accurately reflect my mood and aura.
And just like that, I felt the urge to write again!
This new medium, with its solid foundation and purity of emptiness became the catalyst I needed for my writing journey. In its empty pages, I saw plot development, rough drafts, diagrams, family trees, doodles, colors and contemplation. All in one convenient location.
In this journal’s hard bound cover and empty pages, I saw freedom!
I suddenly realized that the lines had to go away. The structure had to disappear, so I could be my full creative self with my novel like I’ve been with my collage art. I had to replace the flimsy spiral notebook with a rigid-bound ART book; thin, college-ruled pages with thick, empty ones. I needed something solid, with freeing qualities- rigid with endless possibilities. I needed a reflection of me, in all my conundrums, quirks, colors and stubbornness.
My yins and yangs.
My highs and lows.
I needed to see me not only in what I was writing about, but on what I was writing. And in receiving this journal—in receiving this freedom—I received myself.
And for that, I am grateful.