Or should that be thinking backwards. Recently I have been finding myself rediscovering older thinking and going back to earlier ideas. For a start I decided to go back to my original title for my research and for my thesis, I also found a business card on my desk that showed marks into the clay that I had recently tried and thought was a new idea for my work. The business card was from my final year at university and I stopped making the marks as a tutor told me it made the work “too busy”.
Also recently I have been thinking a lot about writing, this is because I am in the process of writing up my research for my thesis. I always write initially with pen on paper as this is how I feel most comfortable, plus I then have a physical recording rather than a digital one, I tend to write in notebooks that I carry as I go out and about. But because writing long hand can take a long time it is only good for short notes.
This week I was on twitter and found an article on writing in shorthand, I spotted it in my feed and thought I would have a look. I have considered shorthand before but convinced myself it would take too long to learn, and that I wouldn’t be able to translate my own writing. Looking at it again I can see applications within my ceramics work, o I think I will teach myself the Gregg system as I reward once I am into the revisions of my thesis.
Over the weekend I checked my emails and gave myself some time to read Austin Kleon‘s Weekly newsletter I have to say my favourite thing in it was this talk:
“Type as quickly as you can and always carry a pencil”
I was stunned by it, I knew from my teacher training there was research that showed notes were better taken with pen on paper, and that for thinking creatively I knew from my own experience that pen on paper was better. I had already started thinking about how I couldn’t get things down fast enough and was losing my thoughts mid pace.
For some reason I hadn’t considered that getting things down faster on the computer as this doesn’t work for me, for most of my writing it flows better if I write it on paper first. Merely writing on a computer is so uncomfortable, it always feels like you have to be accurate or you get the red squiggles under your words, as I can’t spell at the best of times it slows me down as I want to go back and correct. That is why I have been considering short hand I wonder if it helps with the bottle neck as he puts it.
The one thing that I knew but had forgotten is how amazing it is to write with a pencil. Don’t get me wrong I love pens too, when I moved from pencil to pen my sketching improved to no end as it was bold and I had to be more assertive and decisive about marking a mark than I did with a pencil. My favourite pen is a uni-ball eye micro for drawing and I assumed for writing too.
I actually wrote this whole blog post with a pencil and it seems so much more natural than using a pen. My grip is slightly higher which works as it doesn’t matter what angle I use the pencil from, I also don’t have to grip as hard because the pencil isn’t as slippery as a plastic pen. I don’t want to turn back to using a pen this is a revelation, except it isn’t.
As I write this I remember back to college being an obstinate seventeen year old and arguing for being allowed to continue to use a pencil rather than a black pen as was standard for most students, as writing in pencil felt so much more normal and was the only way I could keep up when making notes. At the time I fought to continue to use pencil except in exams where the requirement was black pen. I don’t remember not using a pencil for writing any more, at what point it was in those fourteen years, but today I decided thinking back to those times I was right.