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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Creating (or Surviving) in a Digital World.

And this, dear readers, is why I still prefer to draw with nib pen and ink, or a pen... It took me 30 minutes to sketch my ancient dragon, about an hour to ink him. Coloured him in GIMP in about 2 hours... took the REST of the day to work out the filters I had used on the writing... (now written down... a second time). Life was much less frustrating when I was avoiding any computer enhancements to my drawings! I keep getting told it will be useful, in the end... and that honestly,  I will end up preferring it. I do agree, it is much easier to change colours and compare them; I don't have to redraw the whole thing! Digital methods do save a lot of trees and I am always up for that. This is probably one of the main reasons I am still struggling with the computer for my drawing. But, I reserve the right to judge at a later stage...
For now, I am just so relieved that I have worked out the sequence for the 'Ancient Dragon' writing for the Roleplayer Series.. phew. #5 Ancient Dragon at Red Bubble.

What I do like the computer for, is writing. I can get things written faster (and much neater). I can change my mind, rewrite and save old versions... just in case. However, when I really get stuck and find it hard to put words to the screen, I still reach for my pen and recycled paper (I use the back of already used paper) and start writing. Sometimes it is hard to decipher what I have written, if I leave it too long to rewrite it, especially if it was written at 3 o'clock in the morning (which does happen!) I had a notepad by the bed and in my handbag. I have other notebooks in my 'office'.  I then re-type up these scribblings and often do re-write #1, at this stage.

When I was in high school, we used to get a week or two to write our assignments, short stories or essays. On the few occasions, that I followed the plan that we were set, I got the worst marks for essay writing. My most successful essays were being finalised on the morning they were due. I cringe when I think of it now but it wasn't as bad as it sounds.

I did have a method, not just the one suggested by the teacher. I would start by mulling over the topic, in my head. Sometimes a few paragraphs would spill out immediately. They were written down and put in a foolscap folder or notebook. I then used to let the words swim around in my brain, sometimes almost for the full time allotted. Two nights before, I would sit down and just write - whatever came into my head - usually a paragraph at a time.

Back before we all had computers, back before we all had scanners, back before writing software, I did it all by hand. I would number each handwritten paragraphs, then physically cut them out and rearrange them in an order that made sense. I would then write any bridging paragraphs that were required to make the essay  flow more coherently. The final stage, was rewriting the whole essay into a whole, ready to hand in. I would sometimes be sitting at the classroom door, writing up the final paragraphs. But it always got me an 19 or 20/20!

Not much has changed in my writing, really; the process is still essentially the same. If I try to write something too far ahead, it does not click and is often rewritten several times. Inspirational paragraphs or sentences can get laid down early but I need to let the prose rewrite itself in my mind, at least a few times before I commit it to paper, or screen. It is much quicker and easier to rearrange paragraphs or sentences with a programme. I often will give myself a deadline to work to, so that I have a timeline to aim for.

For this bit of prose, it was a morning start on the topic which changed twice as the words formed in my creative conscience, finally settling on wrestling with digital techniques. I wrote several paragraphs on drawing, with the emphasis shifting towards writing. I edited a several sentences, rearranged a few more, shuffled a couple of paragraphs and finally wrote another paragraph to complete the segue.

This morning, was a final read-through and some more editing. Hopefully, it will satisfy.


  1. I did it all by hand. I would number each handwritten paragraphs, then physically cut them out and rearrange them in an order that made sense.

    I still do that with my papers!

  2. When I hand write articles, or stories, I still circle paragraphs and number them 1, 2 etc.. in the order they will eventually appear, then retype..
    so I am still doing it too.