Yesterday was a writing day. And most of the writing was done by hand, in one of my favorite Moleskine notebooks, with a pencil.
I was somewhat forced to take this approach since my still-healing shoulder decided to stage a protest against the amount of typing I’d been doing this week. So if I was going to write, it would have to be the old-fashioned way. The results were unexpectedly satisfying.
Although handwriting is perhaps painfully slow in comparison to a 90 wpm typing speed, there is something to be said for the way it lends to the creative process. I found myself able to think through a phrase or a sentence as I was writing it (I will add here that I am not at all a fast hand writer) and I’d be thrilled with how it looked. And when I did change my mind about what I’d written, I would simply cross it out and continue.
I like the fact that everything is there. The good words, the not so good ones still visible under the lines used to cross them out, the notes to self in the margins, the arrows to indicate rearrangement of sentences or paragraphs. There’s something about it that generates a feeling of accomplishment much more so than seeing a screen full of perfectly formed words. Does that make sense?
The contents of my notebook have been created with my own hand. And I like what I see.
I am a writer.
8 responses to “Handwritten”
Thanks – I enjoyed that little snippet! I’m about to release a novel after finishing what I thought was the final edit. But no! I made the mistake of reading the first chapter last night. Now, I was never wholly happy with the chapter anyway, but I’ve decided it’s bogged down and needs to be crisper, more immediate – all there. And I don’t think it is, so I’ve decided to redraft/rewrite it. I’ve also decided, after reading your post, that I’m going to do it by hand and see if it helps me. I hate rewriting scenes! I’d much sooner write a scene from scratch.
Oh well, wish me luck..!
Thanks for your comment, David. And I really, really hope it works for you to do that rewrite by hand. I agree, rewriting is painful, but perhaps handwriting will bring out the things you couldn’t see before. Let me know how it goes!
I believe you just summed up the value of taking your time.
A good reminder…
Absolutely! Thanks for commenting, Ellen.
Wendy, this post really resonates with me.
I remember when I was in college, many years ago. I bought myself an electric typewriter (remember those?), with the intention of writing all my assignments on it. But I couldn’t do it.
Instead, I wrote every last assignment (amounting to thousands and thousands of words) by pencil on paper. And I always thought I would do that because I felt so much more connected to the creative process and to the words I wrote (for the same reasons you write in this post).
Today, I use my MacBook for all my writing, and I prefer it that way. Except for my daily journal. Chris recommends I write my journal on my computer instead of in a Moleskine, but I draw the line there. My journal is not about getting the words down; it’s about pausing and feeling and reflecting. And I need pen and paper to do that. There’s no other way.
To answer your question, what you write in this post makes perfect sense. Thanks so much for sharing.
Your comments are always appreciated, my friend. And I agree, journals are about pausing and reflecting. It just doesn’t work on a computer.
I usually write in a notebook and then type it into the laptop. I like to have the notebook as a keepsake for the future.
That’s exactly what I do! The typewritten version is a lot longer and more detailed, but the handwritten has all the dialogue and really, really good sentences. Glad to find a like-minded writer. Thanks for commenting.