Wikipedia defines a writer as one who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate ideas.
Earth’s first writers did not use pigments (ink). They chiseled figures and symbols into hard surfaces.
Babylonians drew on wet clay tablets and then baked them. The Chinese chiseled messages on empty turtle shells.
These surfaces were durable but did not allow corrections. Plus, the turtle shells were awkward to stack, and the clay tablets were real backbreakers in the kids’ backpacks.
Later, Romans wrote on wax tablets. These offered writers the convenience of being able to make corrections, but the wax was not heat resistant.
Imagine a young Roman student telling his teacher, “Honestly, I did my homework, but it melted.”
The scribes of Egypt used pigments and sharp reeds to write on papyrus until reeds gave way to quills. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating back to 100 BC, were written with quills.
Pens followed, first those with a split metal nib that held a small quantity of ink, and later ball-point pens, markers and highlighters. Now we have the choice of rollerball pens and pens with liquid gel ink in innumerable colors. The most modern writing instrument is a stylus for use on touch screens.
Today’s writing instruments and surfaces are many and varied. People write with pencils, pens, crayons, markers, lipsticks and chalk on paper, blackboards, whiteboards and cardboard.
And, as sophisticated as we are, we still write with our fingers on dirty cars, dusty countertops and steamed mirrors.
People write on trees, park benches, train cars and bathroom walls. They write MARRY ME in the sky to dazzle girlfriends and HELP! on beaches when they are stranded.
They write on glass, fabric and skin.
The great humorist, Erma Bombeck, claimed she once grabbed a coloring crayon and ripped off a strip of loose wallpaper to compose a note to her son’s teacher.
When I was a senior in college, engaged to marry Dan after graduation, my roommates used a black marker and numbered the squares on a roll of toilet paper so I could tear off one strip a day and count down the days to my wedding.
This writer appreciates inexpensive, 8.5 x 11-inch, 20 pound, erasable white paper. Being a pen snob, I insist upon using my EnerGel liquid gel ink pen from Pentel, with blue ink and a 0.7 mm point.
The Irish story writer and poet, James Joyce, wrote in large red letters on big slabs of cardboard because he was nearly blind. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, admits to jotting story ideas on empty airplane sickness bags.
Ernest Hemingway once bet his literary friends he could write a story with a beginning, middle and end in just six words. On a table napkin he scrawled For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn. His buddies paid up, and Hemingway left with the winnings.
I scrutinize all my writing projects, searching for errors. Even so, if an error exists, I don’t see it until it leaps out at me from a published document.
This thorough proofreading is unnecessary. Research from the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit of Cambridge University shows that readers are amazingly astute.
You can prove that fact by reading the paragraph below.
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.