Writing By Hand
I started writing by hand for three reasons:
1. It felt more romantic to write by hand.
2. My favourite author, Neil Gaiman wrote by hand (and with fountain pens too).
3. Typing on a computer often made me backtrack, trying to fix whatever I wrote to such an extent that I never got anything written.
I’m not going to go into how technology has ruined our lives because technology is the medium (pun intended) I’m able to share this with you. But technology does come in the way of writing.
Pen and paper freed me. From the Internet (Hallelujah!). From notifications. From messing with the fonts. From the always mocking, teasing, blinking cursor that reminded me of an audience staring at their watch getting bored. From a screen (I do not wear my spectacles while writing on paper. Big plus). It made writing personal; to see words form in my own squiggly font on a naked piece of paper.
Also, I discovered the hidden world of Fountain Pen-dom, the neighbouring lands of Ink and the surrounding mountains of Paper. It’s a beautiful place, and I plan to live in it forever.
Writing for me is dreaming with waking eyes. When I sit to write the first draft of anything new, I need to disconnect from the world. Creative Sleep, as Stephen King calls it. Writing by hand is the way I’ve found that does this.
I write mostly fiction, and I write all my stories by hand. (If you are interested, you can read a few here.) And when the time comes to share, I’m forced to do a proper second draft by typing it all out. That is where a lot of wonderful things happen to a story. So, it’s a win-win situation, albeit a little time consuming. But I’m patient enough — I love what I do.
My notebooks have become my own Octopus’s Gardens. And I’ve acquired quite a few. My handwriting is awful but legible enough for me. (My handwriting looks like a drunken line of ants, in case you were wondering.)
And, when Skynet does take over and all our data is lost in the clouds, I’ll still have my first drafts to work with.
I’m not saying writing by hand has drastically changed my writing (or maybe it has on some subconscious level) but it surely helps. Would you give it a shot?