Never Say Never, or You Just Might Find Yourself Writing Longhand–Shiver!

Rarely will you hear me say I will never do something. Why? Because you never know when those words will come back to bite you in your plump, writer’s behind. What follows is just such an example. 

I haven’t written a story by hand in ages. Once I got my word processor (years ago!) and, later, my own computer followed by my laptop, I left the archaic days of paper and pen behind, and happily. Back then, I hated that my wrist got sore, and that weird callous on my middle finger was a source of pride (Yay! I’m a writer!), but also annoyance (Ugh, how to ruin a good-looking pair of hands!). Besides, it was slow. My mind would be three sentences ahead before my hand would catch up, which always resulted in chicken scratch even I couldn’t figure out when it came to revising or transcribing to the computer. Good riddance and no looking back!  Futurama Yes, the computer was a godsend. Quick, easy, and waste-free, it was a breeze to write and edit, and it required no transcribing—another thing I hated about writing longhand. 

But, well…you see, I’ve…um…(coughs)– I’ve gone back to longhand writing. There. I said it.

In an older post, I hinted at it, as I find writing poetry by hand helpful in getting me ‘unstuck’—maybe it’s the fact I’m creating in an environment different from the one I’m stuck in (bent over paper with a pen in hand versus hunched over a keyboard staring at a blank screen), or perhaps, as it has been suggested, that handwriting uses a different part of the brain than typing. Regardless, I have found it successful. For poetry. 

So, how is it that I’m finding myself writing a story by hand?  I’ve mentioned that I have tendonitis in my ‘mouse’ hand/elbow, and, lately, I’ve been bothered by back and neck problems on the other side. I write for work and then I go home and write for play. To deal with this, I decided to ease up on writing and focus on other things instead: reading, editing, beta reading etc, to still be in the writing head space while resting my body.

But I’m still driven to create.  So, here I am, back at the beginning, holding a pen in one hand and bracing a lined page with the other, just like I did in the first grade when I wrote my first story. And I have to say, I’m liking it. 😉 

From chronicle.com

From chronicle.com

Some thoughts:

  • I’ve discovered that the brain is pretty remarkable, and this exercise made me realize just how fast it can be. As I’m getting my words on paper, I’m conscious of just how many decisions I am making before the pen hits the page: Is this the right word? No? Okay, should I change it? To what? Or should I just keep going and correct it later? …How does this section relate to what’s coming? Do I even know what’s coming? No? Who cares? Stop thinking, don’t self-editing, just write, write, write, get it down and correct later. Write, write, write! Try it. It’s pretty amazing.
  • Going slow isn’t bad. I like to be productive. I don’t have a lot of spare time, so the fact that a computer lets me bang out a story quickly and in one shot is very satisfying. However, this process is changing the way I approach my writing sessions: being forced to write in short bursts before my hand wears out forces me to think first about what I want to get down on paper. And between sessions, I think about what should happen next, rather than typing whatever feels right at the moment because I’m on a roll or because I just want to have something finished by the end of the session. It’s a different way of writing for me, and though it’s hard to slow down, I find this process pretty neat.

Anyhoo, those are my thoughts on this. What do you think? Do you write by hand or were you like me, spurning it with every ounce in your body? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Oh, and I’d share a little of the story I am working on, but well, it’s on paper. 😉 Maybe next time!

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About Dyane

Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. Writing has been a life-long passion and she writes all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction and poetry. Dyane writes to communicate, meaning that writing becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with people on a level deeper than intellect.
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17 Responses to Never Say Never, or You Just Might Find Yourself Writing Longhand–Shiver!

  1. Cairo says:

    The idea of slowing down makes me want to try long hand again. What a good point. Using the computer really allows us to take things for granted. I’m in NYC (lol), and I’m so used to rushing things. And American culture is so based in instant gratification. The act of writing a story and then typing it really makes you spend time with what you’ve created! Great post!

    Like

    • Dyane says:

      Thanks! Glad you agree. ‘The act of writing a story and then typing it really makes you spend time with what you’ve created!’ That is so true: stories take time to mature and the more time we spend with them, the better they are and the more we feel connected to them. Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Like

  2. trentpmcd says:

    There once was a time I wrote everything by hand. I still make notes and write out ideas before they disappear into the ether. I’ve done poems and snippets of stories, but it’s been ages since I’ve written anything that’s longer than a page or so by hand. i may have to give it a try. But not today ; )

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  3. I always write my first draft longhand. Yes, it hurts, but then I get to think about what I’m saying and how it sounds. Also, you get a “free” edit when you transcribe it onto you flash drive. 🙂

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  4. Joshua says:

    I find it easier to turn off distractions as well. A browser isn’t close at hand in case I want to just double check something. It adds a bit of focus for me. Also, tend to use the transcribing process as a bit of editing.

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  5. erikakind says:

    Interesting! I rather type right into the computer because I have so many thoughts to bring down that my hand is not fast enough when writing on a paper. The words flow out of my heart and I stop this flow when I have to “rewind” my thoughts when my writing is too slow. When I am not home (on vacation for example) I always have a notepad in my bag. I write many pages and when home again I type it into the computer. Always I expand my notes, which is wonderful. So both has benefits for me.

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    • Dyane says:

      I totally know what you mean about enjoying the freedom and speed of the computer. 😉 But it’s also neat that you actively keep notes during the day: a two-fer!
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Erika 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do both … With poetry it is sometimes easier to jot down thoughts then put them together.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. After writing four novels on the computer, I found myself writing my next one by hand. I have to admit, I was beyond happy with the results. You skip writing the fluff because you have time to plan what you want to write next, and when I finally got around to typing it, I was able to lengthen and strengthen the content. The result? Alot of woo hoo moments that might not have happened had I typed the first draft. 🙂

    I guess that’s my long way of saying, “I’m with you!” 🙂

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