Christopher Isherwood was once asked why he didn’t dictate his work. Wouldn’t that be easier than using a pen or even a typewriter? Isherwood replied, “An author doesn’t write with his mind, he writes with this hands.”
How many times have you felt completely barren of any idea, felt you had nothing to say, and then picked up a pen or sat down at the keyboard to find the words flowing onto the page as if directly from your mind into the tips of your fingers? Or sat in a meeting trying to write a proposal or letter and needed to grab a pen and write out some sample sentences?
Madeleine L’Engle says that “inspiration does not always precede the act of writing; it often follows it. I go to my typewriter with reluctance; I check the ribbon; I check my black felt pens; I polish my collection of spectacle; finally I start to put words, almost any words, down on paper. Usually, then, the words will start to flow; they push me, rather than vice versa.”
There seems to be a tangible connection between the writer’s mind and the act of writing itself – as if the sensation of pen in hand or the feel of fingertip on the keys starts the ignition and sets the creative process in motion. Practicing the craft means actually writing, setting the words on the page in black and white. Out of this tangible process, comes the intangible power of creative thinking.