Why I Write Longhand

I tried composing on the computer tonight. It worked, I got 404 words out of it and the beginning to one of the most important scenes in Rosa's story.
And yet.
I spend way too much time changing words and erasing and retyping to fix typing-related spelling errors. I can't touch type, though I type very fast, so that might have something to do with my preference as well. I find I pause much more often when keying in words than I do when gliding along with a pen (which has to be a - shameless plug coming up - Pilot G-TEC-C4). My thoughts seem to flow from head to hand much more smoothly when using a pen.
There's also the ever present internet danger when using the computer - I stopped writing at least three times to research something on the spot. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it saves work later, but it also leads to quick-research, not a detailed exploration. The story definitely shouldn't be entirely based on Wikipedia, that goes without saying.
Oddly enough, the type of paper doesn't make much difference to me, though I do prefer ruled paper.
How about you? Pen or keyboard? Lined paper or freeform? Leather bound books or Word2007?

In other news, I'm managing to keep my head above water in Kait's 250 words a day challenge!


Since sooner or later I need to transfer what I write to the computer, I consider it a waste of time to write the 1st draft of a manuscript by hand. The only things I write by hand are ideas, speculations, research plans, etc.
Deniz Bevan said…
Funnily enough, I find it beings in an extra editing step - while transcribing all the handwritten stuff, I can edit it as I type, so that my first printed copy is at least slightly "cleaner" and better than it might otherwise be...
Cindy said…
Hello Deniz, I found your blog!

I can do either, but I get impaticent with a pen. I might not get impatient with THAT pen, that one looks wonderful. Fine tip, yes!! I cannot write with those chunky medium-point pens. I feel like I should be dotting my i's with little hearts when I'm forced to.

Sometimes I will write a few paragraphs in a journal before bed just to force myself to get to my word count.
Deniz Bevan said…
Hi Cindy! I'll link your blogs to mine!
You've got exactly what I need: a regular routine. If I could get into a habit and stick with it, I'd write even more. But back when I first started writing I had no publishing dreams, and so got used to writing only as and when inspiration struck. That's no way to finish and edit a novel! So I constantly need accountability sign up sheets and virtual kicks in the a** to keep the words flowing!
Cindy said…
Hello Deniz:
Well, I don't know if I have a routine, exactly - unless you count stuffing words in my pocket on the way to work, or jotting random things like 'beagle pee in shoe closet - border collie?' or 'Carrie hates avocado scene' in a notebook between phone calls. I do character sketches in my head while I wait for my littlest to fall asleep.

I'm really enjoying being accountable, and the 4000 words at the end of every month is nice too - even if I don't know where I put them, or where they came from!
backwatermary said…
When I write articles for the newspapers, send artists bios to a website, review DG chapter/quotes for a list or write an e-mail, I do it on the computer.

When I create a story out of my head, the first draft is always on paper. A writing teacher I had claimed "it was the physical act of writing that kept a writer free of "writer's block" & strengthened the partnership between the hand, the mind & the imagination." He said one should write something every day, even if it was nothing more than a gracery list. So I do. And so far, it has worked.

You are right about what happens when you transfer it to the computer,too. You edit & improve as you go. Mistakes you've made show clearly. Later,I do the research, insert where necessary
& adjust the type.

Mary in IL
Deniz Bevan said…
You're right Mary! I do tend to compose articles and compile DG quotes - and blog posts! - straight onto the computer. I think your teacher was on to something; the words definitely flow more quickly with a pen.
I took a five minute breather to read through a few of your archived posts, Deniz. I started writing by long hand, but found the computer quicker. However, if the flow of words stop I go back to pen and paper, and it starts up again.
Deniz Bevan said…
Aww, hope you found some of the posts interesting, Glynis!
I agree, words flow better on paper.