Oops! Was this my day?


I work a paycheck-job, as a middle school librarian. Which means that once a year, I am pulled out of my library to serve as a testing monitor, for the two weeks of standardized tests the state requires of our children.

The first portion of the day sees me running up and down halls, fetching supplies for test administrators, carrying messages to principals, making sure students are where they’re supposed to be, and other delightful activities. I’m fairly certain I’ve walked halfway to Mordor in the last three days. The end of the testing day is more of the same, but backwards. Well, except for the walking – that I do facing forwards no matter what time it is. 😀 The middle is peaceful. I have to sit in my assigned hallway and make sure things are blissfully quiet. I have a folding papa-san chair I bring for just this purpose, and I usually bring a book.

I have never been one who particularly liked writing longhand. The word processor is infinitely preferable, to me. Trouble is that here I am with a huge chunk of empty time first thing in the morning, and I can’t bring my laptop with me. (It’s a security issue.) So today, I had the wild notion to grab a handful of paper, and a pen, and see what came of it.

Y’all, when the smoke cleared, I had written ten pages of longhand.  And I managed to get my characters out of a boat they’ve been in for days.  When I reached a stopping place, I just sat in my chair for a few minutes, staring at all the pages, and silently cheering. I had no idea I could let myself go so easily with a pen and paper. It’s been a very long time since I even tried.

Yesterday I was begging God to let the testing end soon. Now, I’m restocking my clipboard for next time.

** We’ll be hosting a special guest blogger tomorrow: Stacy Hague-Hill of Tor Books!  Please tune in! **


3 comments to Oops! Was this my day?

  • Chris Branch


    When I first tried for 100K words instead of 50K for NaNoWriMo, I thought “there’s no way I’m going to have the time to write 3334 words in the evening after work!” So during my lunch hour I went and sat in a park and wrote with pencil and paper to give me a head start – then in the evening I typed it all in and continued from there. It actually worked fine, except I later discovered that I actually can write 3334 words in an evening, even starting from scratch, as long as I don’t mind staying up until midnight. I do still carry a notebook of blank paper around with me just in case.

  • Misty, I also grok —

    The physical act of putting pen to paper often places me into a light meditative state, giving me access to my subconscious: doodles quickly morph into words, thoughts into dialogue, gesture sketches into entire scenes.

    I don’t try to ‘control’ it — I’m just along for the ride, anyway.

  • I write very *purple* when I write with pen and paper.
    Totally unlike I write with keyboard.
    It must indeed open up and utilize a different part of the brain.