#1 tool for digital creativity: a #2 pencil

I’ve finally done it. I have entered nerdhood, via the rather embarrassing route of sustaining a significant injury from too much time spent in front of a computer screen. My osteopath was beside herself.

It was time well spent, however, as I managed to update my entire website, form the platform for my work in the next few years, and gain a lot more knowledge about the software I’ll be using to create my digital stories.

But the truly interesting thing I learned by using new software and rebuilding my site from the ground up was this: I need better pencils.

As it turns out, I’m rather crap at designing unless I have a pencil (not a pen) and paper. I couldn’t even begin putting the pages together until I had thumbnail sketches and hastily drawn scribbles and lists in a notebook in front of me. My sole mechanical pencil broke one evening, and I found myself unable to continue working.

In a related episode, I attended a lecture this week that was not up my alley at all, and so I pulled out my little notebook I carry for task lists, and I had a massive brainstorm. I outlined entire sections of my critical dissertation, had a breakthrough idea about what form it should take, and got excited about my work all over again. Yet this afternoon when I sat down at my big, beautiful 27-inch monitor, my brain went kerpluff. I couldn’t even keep track of the current task I was on, much less think of all the others I need to get through this week. Computer on: brain off.

What does this mean for my process? I don’t really know. It may be that I need to force myself away from even the digital world of my iPhone (on which I am composing this entry) and sit in a quiet corner for an hour once a week just to let my brain be one with its own neurons, rather than trying to compete with silicon.

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