Writing Wednesdays: Writing Longhand


And we round out August with Writing Wednesdays. I’m not sure I’m going to continue this as a hugely regular feature–it may end up being something I just come back to once in awhile. But for now, let’s talk about writing longhand.

Used to be, I would sit in my room for hours and fill up spiral notebook after spiral notebook with “novels”–long, complex epics that move from black ink to blue ink to purple ink in one long, continuous chain. (As you can I’m sure guess, I was a hugely popular teen). We were late getting a computer, so for years I would write everything longhand and then transcribe it all into my mom’s electric typewriter. In a way that I didn’t understand at the time, it really connected me with the words coming out of my brain.

I lost that when I started writing on the computer. Not at first–at first the computer was this amazing new tool, where I could finally write fast enough to keep up with my brain. But a lot of what I was writing started to feel empty. Flat. And then that cursor started blinking at me, and sometimes, for the first time, I couldn’t find any words at all.

Recently, I’ve started writing longhand once again. At first it was just notes, character lists, random lines and title ideas. But then I started writing full scenes. And then I started writing flash fictions. And it’s turned out to be pretty amazing. The physical act of writing down words has helped me focus again. The act of transcribing helps me edit. And getting stuck with my nose in a composition notebook (side note–how come they don’t make real composition notebooks anymore? All I can find are cheapo glued ones with weird, decorative covers) means that I don’t get on the internet every five seconds to check Twitter or fall down the Wikipedia black hole. It’s fantastic. I don’t know if I’ll have the patience to write a full length story out longhand anytime soon, but I’m currently using my notebooks to write up a storm, and I love it.

So: longhand or typed? Do you have a preference? Do you think in different ways if its a pen in your hand, or a keyboard under your fingers? And do you know where I can get my hands on a composition notebook?


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