I’m about to leave for a vacation and there are long flights ahead. For me, a plane is a great place to write… You’re trapped in a seat and the Internet is out of range = no distraction. (Assuming your row is baby free, and your neighbors are quiet, keep-to-themselves sorts, of course.) And so, whenever I begin packing for trip like this, I wrestle with whether to bring my laptop.
Recently I’ve been spending too much time in front of the computer, and there’s a part of me that wants to leave the thing at home; to take a vacation from that part of my life as much as any other. But the thought of doing so makes me twitchy, so addicted am I to working on my laptop, surfing the web, and playing in Photoshop. Then again, I don’t want to have the hassle of pulling my laptop out at security, of carrying that extra weight, and worrying about its safety in a hotel room.
Yesterday I read a post on Red Ravine on the power of journaling...a lot of which happened to coincide with some of my recent thinking on the topic. As I’ve written here before, I often have several notebooks/journals going at once. Having a computer hasn’t stopped me from keeping a notebook. But it has slowed down my use of them. My journaling is fractured. This blog is a kind of journal, and I have a collection of Word documents on my hard drive organized by month and year that are another kind of journal. And then there are the notebooks, which fill in the gaps and serve as places to record writing ideas.
It’s hard not to think about what would happen if I contained all journaling on paper. I certainly might enjoy the process more. There’s something about looking back over the handwritten pages. The handwriting, the pen marks and the doodles around the edges make it more personal. I do like writing and drawing whatever comes to mind on an actual piece of paper. And would keeping all of my ideas and thoughts in one place produce better writing? More writing?
But. When it comes to writing a full essay, something more polished and complete, a notebook isn’t enough. I can’t write fast enough, I can’t edit, cut, and paste. I get frustrated. Which brings me back to the laptop decision… what if I want to work on a longer piece while I’m on the plane?
I’m really tempted to do an experiment and leave my poor laptop behind. Instead, I’d bring two notebooks: one for a travel journal, and one for simply writing… Oh, but my typing fingers get twitchy just thinking about it….