The Font Effect

While working on my first book, Deceived, I hit the much-dreaded writer’s block at a very crucial time – right when my book needed revising. It felt like I hit the bottom of my creative well and I had to abandon my manuscript for almost 2 months.

I was completely devastated and after a few fruitless weeks of consoling myself that I’ll get back to writing soon, I started panicking and then began wondering about my writing altogether.

I’ve had my fair share of writer’s block since I started writing 2 years ago, but this one was the worst I ever dealt with. I tried everything to get over it. Everything. I followed different versions of Writing Rituals, went for jogs, went out for dinners, read 15 books one after the other to break this bad spell of stupor, took full day’s off several times a week, tried writing flash fiction, tried doing Freewriting. But everything backfired and left me completely exhausted. 😦

Every time I tried to open my manuscript, I felt like staring at a blank wall for hours. It really frustrated me that I, the girl-who-was-doing-so-good-with-her-writing suddenly turned into the girl-who-might-not-even-be able-to-complete-her-first-book!

It was literally one of the lowest points in my life because my first book meant everything to me.

At the end, almost giving up on my manuscript, I tried to divert my mind by agreeing to beta read a part of my Australian critique partner’s book. But then the most amazing thing happened!

As soon as I opened her book on my Mac and started reading it, I was struck by how beautiful and neat the file looked. And that was when it hit me.

I closed that file straight away and opened my own manuscript, and the moment I looked at the sad font of my manuscript and I knew why I wasn’t able to work further on it.

I immediately changed the of my MS from Courier Sans to Times New Roman. And…. Viola! Just like that, everything changed!

And the next thing I know, I was revising my manuscript!

I was done revising my manuscript in the next four days, and in those four days, I realized one thing – My book is really good!

You notice how I went from I-should-quit-writing to my-book-is-really-good? This is what I like to call as The Font Effect.

When I started writing my book’s first draft, I used the font Avener Book right till the time my manuscript was ready. Somehow writing in Avener Book helped me write for long hours without any headaches. I really liked it plus it looked beautiful in print. But when I was sending out the inquiries to Literary Agents, I formatted my manuscript according to the standard format and  changed its font to 12 pt. Courier.

Since then my manuscript has been in Courier only, and that’s where the problem began. Somehow my subconscious mind found it repulsive, or to be honest, plain ugly. I developed an aversion to Courier that I still can’t explain. I had a hard time reading more than a page at a time and that too without even it.

After changing the font to Times New Roman, I revised my book three times in one month, then edited it in the following month and sent it to my publisher (with whom I already signed an agreement by then) for the final editing.

Moral of the story – Fonts are very important. And we, as writers, should never underestimate their power.

As I see it, the importance of fonts, in general, is underrated, and most of the time their value gets completely lost amidst other “more important” things.

If you really think about it, fonts are one of the most used tools in a writer’s life.

Can you imagine what the hell would writers do without fonts?

What do you think about The Font Effect? What are your favorite fonts and why do you like them so much?

Feel free to share any stories or experiences you’ve had with fonts (or writing in general.) I love reading and replying to all your comments.