If I had my druthers, I’d write in long hand. My thoughts seem to flow better, I have something tangible to show for my work and I don’t edit myself while I’m writing as much as I do when I’m typing.
If what I’m writing is a letter (for the youngsters out there, a letter is like a handwritten email that is delivered to your house via snail mail) or a journal entry, there’s no issue with using pen and paper. But if I’m working on a blog past, I eventually have to type up a copy of my handwritten work, which is a drag and something I’d rather avoid. So it’s due to my inherent laziness that the majority of the time I skip the handwriting and go straight to my laptop. Or at least I did until a couple of days ago.
I could be late to the party with my fun new toy, but I didn’t know it existed until very recently. I can’t remember what I was doing or looking for online, but eventually I ran across a review of the Livescribe pen. I soon learned that Livescribe pens are to be used with special Livescribe paper. And by doing so, the program not only saves a digital version of your handwritten work, it converts your handwriting to editable text.
And it does a damn good job of it! Here’s a picture of this paragraph in my atrocious handwriting …
And here’s that same paragraph translated to text. Some minor clean up and it’s good to go!
I’m not 100% sure how the pen works or knows what page I’m on or which notebook I’m writing in, but I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities: 1) magic, or 2) a time traveler brought it back from the future. I hope it’s the latter because magic rates only slightly higher than mimes and mariachis in terms of annoying entertainment.
My favorite thing about the Livescribe pen is that I can use it with a special-paper Moleskine journal, and l happen to be a little bit obsessed with all things Moleskine. So when I stumbled upon that tasty little nugget of information, I knew I had to get a pen. I bought it on eBay and the seller also included a little spiral bound starter notebook and one of the aforementioned Moleskine journals.
Rather than jumping right into the Moleskine, I decided to use the starter notebook until I got the hang of the pen. Except it turns out there is no “getting the hang of the pen”… once the Bluetooth connection was established, I just started writing. And unlike the PDAs of yesteryear (not the sloppy public tongue kissing PDAs, the Personal Digital Assistant PDAs) I didn’t have to learn a modified alphabetic in order for my handwriting to be “readable” to the program.
As delighted and excited as I am about the pen, using the Livescribe system has triggered one of my odd little idiosyncrasies. I found an app called 365 Days Of Me, which provides a year’s worth of writing prompts. It sounded like a good way to get back into the habit of daily writing and I’m excited to get started on it. The problem is that I’ve already started writing in the little spiral notebook and feel like I should finish all the pages before I crack open a new notebook. The paper supplies for the Livescribe pen aren’t as cheap as your standard notebooks, not that they’re prohibitively pricey, but they cost enough that I don’t want to waste them.
I want to use the new Moleskine for the 365 Day Challenge, but I don’t want to wait until I use up the current notebook. I considered starting The Challenge in the spiral notebook, but the idea of having a project split between two different journals — one of which would contain something other than The Challenge on its first 20+ pages — just doesn’t sit well with me. l know that I won’t be able to squeeze 365 days of writing into one Moleskine, but I’m fine having The Challenge span two or three volumes because it would be a matching set of notebooks regarding a specific project..
I could dedicate the spiral, starter notebook for only blog posts and use the Moleskine for just the 365 Day Challenge. But what if one of the topics would make a good blog post? Does usability as blog material mean it goes into the starter notebook? Or does it remain with the Moleskine because it’s based on a daily prompt? And what if The Challenge proves to be too challenging and I give up? Then I’d be stuck not only with the half-complete spiral notebook, I’d also have a partially finished Moleskine haunting me.
These are the problems that plague me, the dilemmas that leads to writer’s block and the realness of my struggle. I’ve recently been diagnosed with New Notebook Paralysis Syndrome; and by “diagnosed” I mean I’ve exhibited of few of the symptoms and have come to the conclusion that I probably have NNPS.
Unfortunately, despite my exhaustive research, I can find nothing telling me how to deal with NNPS. There’s a slight chance that the lack of information available is due to the fact that I just invented it while writing this post, making me the only known case in the US (probably … I didn’t really look beyond my neighborhood ). Hearing from others who are also comfortable diagnosing themselves with NNPS, or other obscure conditions, would go a long way toward helping me accept and overcome the hand I’ve been dealt.
Maybe we could start an awareness campaign with a celebrity spokesperson. I’m picturing myself surrounded by unopened Moleskines and looking into the camera with my big, sad eyes while Sarah McLaughlin does her best to ruin the good mood of anyone who happens to be watching.
If you believe you have NNPS, try to take comfort in knowing that if we can suffer from an imaginary condition, then together we can pretend to find a cure.