Monday, October 24, 2005

Why Not Use A Pencil?

We've all had that moment of sudden inspiration, the rare instance where the muse plops on our head and says, "Time to be creative!" We frantically rush for a piece of paper, table napkin, your shirt, whatever. We grab our pen, hurriedly scrawl down our ideas, desperately trying to outpace the already-starting fade-out that idea's doing in our head...

Phew. Exhausting to even think about, isn't it? Now think about this. What if I told you about an amazing instrument that won't smear during your scrawlings, takes up less paper space than a pen, is dirt-cheap, available everyhere, is often made of recycled materials, AND actually helps the creative process in your brain? Would you want one?

Well, they're easy to get. The instrument I'm talking about is...a pencil.

I'm serious. Using a pencil for brainstorming, instead of a pen, my creative scribbles have gotten amazingly better. Here's my reasoning.

1. Nothing Permanent Can Stay
Have you ever tried to erase ink with an erasable pen? It leaves big stains on your paper, faded words still visible. Yecch. And that's for the erasable pens; if you're working with an ordinary pen, break out the White-Out. With a pencil, you can erase easily, OR scratch something out. This helps your mental state out a lot, as mentioned below.

2. Brainstorm Forecast
When scrambling to write out an idea, you're aware this is the first level. Your brain isn't trying to slap extra requirements for coherence and structure on pencil scribblings. You're unbound; you can write with abandon. With a pencil, you don't have ink bindings or having-to-go-back-over-that-word-because-the-ink-faded-for-no-reason annoyances.

3. Lightning Hands!
I just write faster with a pencil. I'm not worrying about the ink smearing, spontaneous dry-ups, how neat it looks, etc. Tossing out these subtle blocks makes my hands rush across that page even faster than my typing (which is no slouch at 60 words per minute!).

I'm sure it's not for everyone. But with pencils being so helpful in my haphazard creative bursts, I thought it something everyone could try. See if a pencil can't give a few more seconds to your next brainstorm, instead of a pen.

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