The Pen Is Mightier

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I’m in the middle of reading Sarah J. Maas’ delicious A Court of Wings and Ruin and my mind is directed towards all things fantasy. One of the things I love best about high fantasy is how people name their swords. I’ve always thought that was badass. For example, Azriel, one of the characters in the book, named his sword Truth Teller. You should also know he’s the strong, silent type, a warrior-spy who’s all shadows. So the name of his sword = perfect. I’d be scared shitless if I met Azriel and Truth Teller on the battlefield and we weren’t on the same side. Azriel is a new addition to the very long line of fantasy characters – and real medieval people – who named their swords, few as famous as those belonging to the Lord of the Rings family:


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Azriel’s Truth Teller got me thinking…wouldn’t it be kind of fun to name my laptop in the same spirit as warriors once named their swords? It’s the only weapon I’ve ever been able to wield with any accuracy and would be the first thing I’d think to bring into modern-day battle. Like any Word Warrior, I have to train with it daily so that it hits the mark when it counts. Casting my net a bit wider here, we see how laptops really are today’s swords. From cyber attacks to cutting Op-Eds and Snowden revelations, laptops are perhaps the most sophisticated weapons the world has ever known, giving the old adage The pen is mightier than the sword new weight.

I’ve always been weirded out by people naming inanimate objects (and bombs, for that matter). But this feels different. People named their swords for the ideals they wanted to bring with them into battle, or to honor the maker, the gods, or their family. They weren’t being cute–they were deadly serious. And so am I. My laptop is the instrument through which I contribute to the world. It’s a vessel my words flow through (or perhaps I’m the vessel and the laptop simultaneously my anchor and sails). Just as with a sword, a Word Warrior must become one with her laptop, letting all that’s inside her flow onto the keys. I know my Macbook isn’t made out of Valyrian steel, but it pulls its weight when we’re in the thick of it. If Jon Snow were a writer, I’m sure he’d be happy to have a Macbook while he fought off White Walkers and Lannisters.


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But how does one go about naming their beloved laptop (or typewriter or quill)? It’s rather a serious decision, isn’t it? There may be a precedent for changing a sword’s name, but it’s highly irregular. No, we’ve got to get it right the first time, don’t we? Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you contemplate your name. Grab your journal and have at it:


  1. Why do you write? 

  2. To get to the heart of why you write (and perhaps why you’re a reader, as well), write an Artist’s Statement. (You can get a peek at mine here). 

  3. What are you about as a person? Jot down some of your core values (integrity, honesty, generosity, compassion, etc.).

  4. What do you want your words to accomplish? What effect do you hope they have on the reader and the world at large? You might have got into this with your artist statement, but if not, think on this a bit. 

  5. Now, start brainstorming names. This should be loads of fun. I encourage you to geek out online for a bit. You might want something epic like “Excalibur” or perhaps something more along the line of Arya Stark’s “Needle.” It should have a bit of your personality in it, or perhaps you want to choose a name that’s aspirational, hinting at where you’d like to go as a writer. You should choose a name that gives you a little flutter in your soul, a sense of YES. 


In the end, choosing my laptop’s name required very little thought. The name came to me almost immediately, right as rain. It’s a combination of what’s in my artist statement, and why I engage in spiritual practices and meditation for myself. Mostly, it feels right, and I hope it’ll keep me honest when I’m tempted to be lazy and write something crappy just to get by.

Drumroll please…..

(Imagine me looking like a badass, holding my laptop and staring, steely-eyed, into the distance, okay?)



The next time I sit down to write with Awakener, I’m gonna channel Arwen from LOTR and do some serious ass-kicking entertaining and awakening. What about you? What have you named your laptop?

See you on the battlefield. xx






As usual, you can sign up for my newsletter for exclusive posts on the writing life and an update on all things bookish. If you’re a lady writer, please join us on the Pneuma Facebook Group for daily inspiration, motivation, and community. If you’re interested in working with me as a writing coach, don’t be shy: email me and I’ll get back to you ASAP. You can also check out the Pneuma Creative site for coaching, editorial, and class info. Happy writing! 

One comment

  1. […] Most of the reading I do in the self-help section tends to agree that your purpose will only bring you satisfaction if it’s aligned toward serving others. I’m not saying you need to be Mother Theresa, but you will not be satisfied if all you care about is yourself: your finances, your career, your status. When you shift your higher purpose toward how you can participate in making the world a little bit better (through your writing, through your actions and choices), you will be happier. Like, I pretty much guarantee that. For more on your purpose and creating an Artist Statement that will help you clarify that, you can check out this post of mine. […]


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