I left my laptop at home last week when we went to Whidbey.

I know.

I can barely believe it myself. But I took along a notebook instead, and found it surprisingly pleasant and productive.

Here are my three favourite things about writing by hand:

1. No one knows you’re working. There were no remonstrating looks from husband or children. No complaints. No requests to use my notebook for games or googling, which would have happened immediately if I were working on a laptop.

2. I didn’t feel like I was working. And often, I wasn’t. Sometimes I was scribbling ideas for blog post, and sometimes I was copying recipes from an ancient copy of The Moosewood Cookbook, because they reminded me of my vegetarian university years (when that cookbook was considered the epitome of exotic). And sometimes, just sometimes, I was writing entire scenes for my work-in-progress.

3. I wasn’t worried about writing trash. I’m right in the muddy middle of a project, and the weight of all the written scenes combined with the still-to-write scenes is a terrible mix of crushing and confusing. But in a notebook, I can write paragraphs or pages and not worry where they might fit or connect. If they don’t work, I won’t type them!

Along with my beach photos and Port Townsend loot, I’ve left Whidbey with a resolution: to sometimes head to the coffee shop with a pen instead of a keyboard for company.

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