When constructing my packing list, I briefly considered taking a Bluetooth keyboard. I was planning on writing while traveling and thought that it was a no-brainer. Then, I wondered if I could ditch the physical keyboard and write on virtual ones. It would be certainly be lighter and make the process of writing a little less fussy. Could I do without?
Turns out, I could. I’ve written quite a bit in the last three months. The vast majority of it was typed up by my fingers on my iPhone. In fact, I think the constraint of the iPhone helped me: it forced my writing to be more concise. I composed posts on packed buses, lounging in hammocks, sprawled under the shade of trees, and waiting for food at restaurants. Everywhere - and every moment - was a chance for creation.
There is a kind of obsession with the tools that we use to do things. Productivity and creativity often fall victim to this obsession. There seems to be a mysticism surrounding the work that we do and I’ve become all too familiar with the cult of specificity surrounding the written word. This writing app. That fountain pen. This time of day. That sanctioned amount of isolation.
No, to write, you just need an idea and somewhere to put it. Pen and paper during a quiet moment at work. The Notes app on your iPhone in the stumbling moments after a deep sleep. The back of your airplane ticket as you wait in line for coffee. Words are apathetic to how they greet the world, but they do care that you get them down. At the end of the day, that is writing. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.