I’m particular about the pen I use and the journal I write in, so when I’m mid-sentence or heaven help me, mid-word, and my pen runs out of ink it’s more than an inconvenience. I might only have half a sentence written on the page, the remainder of the thought is then etched into the paper in a desperate attempt not to lose it. That is only part of the problem. Before losing the incomplete thought, and the next one blossoming in my mind, I need to get another pen and quick (would you believe my pen just ran out! Not only did I have to stop to find another pen from my handbag as naturally I’m writing in a café, I had to take a photo for proof! And to irritate me a little further I’m now having to write in black ink, not blue, and it feels all wrong.)
It’s not as simple as the ink running out, the result is a series of distractions. I’ve now got to stop, and pick up the trail I was following or decide on the new one which is now presenting itself for me.
To prevent the annoyance of having a pen run out of ink, I might have about five pens in my handbag as insurance to ensure I keep on writing, especially if I’ve just been struck by inspiration, but it’s not really a safe guard.
I have pens stashed around my home so that if an idea spontaneously bursts into my mind I don’t have to reach far for a pen to write it down and capture the idea permanently. The fear of losing an idea motivates me to keep an over stock of pens. I want to be ready when an idea comes and I want the pen to be full of ink because partial ideas are of no use. No matter how organised I am and how much planning I’ve done, there’s no escaping an interruption like this. Unless when I think a pen is low on ink and I throw it out. But that is wasteful, plus if I keep stopping to look at the pen to see the ink level I won’t write. Distractions need to be minimised when writing.
When I’m forced to stop it’s like I was following my own yellow brick road in my head, skipping along, chasing an unfolding idea, next thing I stumble and wham, no road to follow, and instead I’ve got to stop and make choices. All forced on me by the process of running out of ink.
While frustrating at the time it’s something that unexpectedly influences my writing and redirects my creative expression, like when the wind changes direction, in the back of your mind you know it will happen you just don’t know exactly when or the changes it might bring. I could be in the flow of writing, capturing the creativity in the moment, being forced to stop is almost like some divine intervention and not just ink running out. The resulting direction changes the thoughts, or unfolding ideas, or the speed of creative flow, or completely sends me down another road in search for ideas, this is all part of the process of creative expression I’ve learnt to embrace.
So may your ink flow and sometimes may it also run out.