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notebooksFor as long as I can remember, blank books have made me anxious.

I love them, though it’s maybe a bit strange to love something that makes you anxious, but I do. I love crisp paper and fancy bindings and the clever little elastics to keep them closed. I particularly love the ones that have pockets in the back though I rarely put anything in the pockets.

I used to get blank books and journals and fill a few pages and stop, having ruined them with lousy handwriting and messy thoughts. And then I’d feel bad about letting them languish and didn’t like having long gaps of time between pages so the rest of the pages would stay blank.

I can’t even count how many once-blank books I’ve owned. I can count the ones I’ve filled cover-to-cover on one hand.

You would think, after all the time and all the words and all the writing, they wouldn’t make me nervous anymore. But they do.

I don’t have the same anxiety about blank pages when I type. Maybe it’s the mutability of a file, the possibilities of a blinking cursor are a more flexible sort, easily taken away again with a few additional keystrokes. I spelt additional wrong on the first try, easily fixed here.

And I type faster than I write longhand.

But I like writing longhand, even though it makes me feel slow and awkward and uncertain. I loved this piece that the lovely Daniel Kraus did on Booklist about writing longhand.

I suspect I just need to do it more, but there’s that horrid feeling of ruining something pristine mixed with too much possibility.

I have a couple of notebooks going for the novel-in-progress and pages upon pages on my computer, but I just pulled out a new blank book to work in and it’s making me nervous. Compounding the nerves that are already there from being back to the writing phase that’s just me and the world in my head and the pages to fill.

I’ll figure it out. I’ll spell things wrong and spill ink and hopefully this will be one of those books that gets filled cover-to-cover, and I’ll be able to make something of what’s inside.

 

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