I owe some letters to some people out there. Not e-mail, not typed notes, but good old-fashioned pick-up-the-pen-and-hand-write correspondence. Once a month I make a habit of writing to someone I care for, no matter how long it takes. If I time it right with my meds I can write a reasonable-length letter in a day or two.
I also write in a personal journal almost every day. Sometimes my entries are very short and the hand writing sucks, and a few times I've had to use the Dragon to type my entries, which I tape to the page. When my hands were better I used to sketch pictures in my journal, pictures of ordinary things, flowers, the cats, my kids. Now I take photographs of those wonders and tape them in.
I still hand write research notes, some outlines and other things in my novel notebooks. I doodle when I'm on the phone talking to my agent or editor and draw labyrinths of brick walls. My caricatures aren't what they used to be, but sometimes I draw things in the books I sign for special friends, or friends who need a laugh.
I've made my own paper and ink, my own fountain pens, and bound my own journal pages into books. I design quite a few of my personal journals, and I've taken classes in how to dye paper and hand-make books. I still make chapbooks and poetry books and books of my photographs with hand-written captions. Sometimes I make my own bookmarks out of odd things.
With all our technology, electronic gadgets and wireless wonders, we've been made more efficient, more productive writers, and I'm not knocking that. I appreciate it a lot. But I do all this homemade, hand-written, artistic stuff because it reminds me of who I am. I'm not e-mail. I'm not a PDA. I'm not a laptop. I'm a writer. Writing is my living, but it's also my passion.
How do you stay in touch with the art of your writing?