Putting Pen to Paper & Writing the old Fashioned Way

Long before the days of email, social media and Skype, people would use a pen or pencil to hand write letters on actual paper, and then send them using a stamp via Royal Mail. A novel and somewhat primitive way in comparison to today’s standards. (apologies for the sarcasm)

I can still remember as a small child, the feeling of shear pleasure in finding a letter addressed to me, amongst the pile of bills and circulars in the morning post. Unlike the others, mine had a handwritten envelope in my Nan’s distinctive handwriting.

I’d rip open the envelope, sit on the bottom step and read with eager anticipation as to what my Nan and Grandad has been up to the previous week. Don’t get me wrong, as a retired couple, their week normally consisted of a few walks, a bit of gardening and a little gossip about their neighbour down the road. But still, getting this snippet of information was a way to feel a little closer to them both and a little more excited about the prospect of my next school holidays being spent with them in the country.

Straight after school, I’d go straight to my bedroom, and sat at my small desk, pen in hand, I would write my reply. Telling them about school, my younger, annoying Sister and that I was looking forward to seeing them soon.

These letters went back and forth for years, I can’t quite remember when they stopped but I still have a couple hidden away in a memory box somewhere.

So why am I reminiscing about my Nans loving letters?

I used to love writing, I genuinely enjoyed putting pen to paper, but like most of us I’d replaced writing with typing. A few years back I realised I had nearly forgotten how to write, I know that sounds a little crazy, but I did. After writing a few paragraphs with a pen or pencil, my fingers and hands started to ache and my handwriting become nearly unreadable.

Joined up writing was near impossible. I was suddenly aware that I hadn’t written anything more substantial than a shopping list for many years.

So concerned was I that my writing skills were in jeopardy, that I decided to invest in a beautiful moleskin notepad and fine tip pen. I set myself a target to write at least two full pages in my notepad every evening. Not fixed subject, just good quality readable material.

At the beginning I was worried I would struggle to think of things to write about, but once I got started I couldn’t stop. Some nights I was scribbling away and got so lost in thought, that I wrote 7-8 pages in no time at all. I wrote whatever came to mind, things I was worried about, poems, letters that would never be read, plans for forthcoming days. Everyday was different.

Not only did this help get my handwriting back into shape, it also allowed me to open up to myself, in the private confides of my notebook. At the end of each day I could rid my mind of the days worries, thoughts and plans for the future.

This in turn helped me to relax in the evening and even manage to get a better nights sleep. It’s been a couple of years now and every night I still sit curled up on the sofa writing away.  When I finally finish the notepad, I then burn it on the BBQ, this way I will always know that my private thoughts will always remain private. Burning the notepads is a personal choice, for some keeping your thoughts and reading them back in later years might also be enjoyable.

Why not give it a try?

Get yourself an old notebook and a pen or pencil, whichever you prefer. Switch off the TV for half an hour in the evening, so you are nice and relaxed and in a noise free environment.

Now just write. Don’t overthink it, don’t try and put together the next Times best seller, just write down whatever comes into your head. Try and speak to yourself using written words, tell yourself how your day has been, how you feel and what you plan to do tomorrow.

I often find some of my best writing comes with a small glass of red wine in hand,

I’d be very interested to know how you get on and if you found putting pen to paper as rewarding as I did. Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

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