My name is Mike Ester. For the past three years, I’ve been considering taking up writing as a hobby. I do have a day job. I am a senior IT technician at a community college in Texas. I also play music as a hobby. I don’t have dreams of joining the ranks of Stephen King, James Patterson, or Steven Pressfield. But I would like to learn more about the art of storytelling. The Craft, if you will.
I wasn’t always the best student in school. But I was a voracious reader as a kid. I was reading articles in National Geographic by the time I was in 4th grade. As a result, my best grades were in English. But that was cruel irony. I hated school, and hated English class. I never could reconcile that. The instructor of a required freshman writing course told me that I had the potential to be a good writer. Once again, I was excelling in a class that I didn’t want to be in.
I started keeping a journal a few years ago. I wish that I had started that when I was a child. Journaling made me realize how many thoughts and memories I’ve lost forever. It’s a habit that is easy for me to maintain. I cherish taking pen to paper to record what is on my mind. I always make it a point to have pen and notepaper with me at all times. I don’t have the references at hand, but I’ve heard of studies showing that writing by hand uses parts of the brain that aren’t utilized when typing on a keyboard. My mind feels better when using pen and paper.
I prefer starting my writing with analog tools. I’m a recent convert to fountain pens and good paper. There is no battery to charge, no danger of data loss from a power outage. For most of my life, I have been using block print when writing by hand. I was introduced to cursive writing in primary school. But I never did very well at it. It was assumed that I just didn’t have the knack for it.
The penny finally dropped when I started using a fountain pen. I needed to slow down, and lighten my pressure on the pen. A ballpoint pen makes you put too much pressure on the paper. That isn’t writing. That is engraving. These days, I eschew ballpoint pens. I don’t deny their existence. I just don’t like using them.
I have reached a point where my cursive writing is legible. It’s not beautiful calligraphy, but I don’t care. I can go back and decipher what I wrote a month ago. Even my wife has noticed the difference.
I still recognize the value of digital tools. After all, a blog is digital; is it not?
Now, the hard part begins. Overcome the resistance, and start writing.