A post on Damyanti Biswas’s site reminded me of this one I wrote a few years ago on handwriting. After two years of regularly blogging and meeting other writing deadlines, I still have to write almost all my first drafts by hand. With a pen. On paper. In cursive.
I’m still not sure why I hand write first drafts. I’ve tried to type straight out of my imagination, but unless it’s for something very short, like Monday Sparks, I feel stifled. The words come so painfully that I race back to paper. That blank screen is intimidating. It seems to demand that you fill it up NOW or go away.
Pen and paper seem more inviting, more personal. Maybe it’s because that’s how I started writing fiction, using any scrap of paper I could find in my books at school to while away boring classes. Paper also lets me see my progress more easily than a computer. If I only come up with one sentence after an hour, I may have five sheets of rejected ideas, revealing how I spent my time. I can go back and try to salvage some of those ideas if I want to. All those filled sheets are very reassuring to me. And seeing my writing in my own hand makes it truly mine.
Even with a major edit, I like to run off a story, sit down with a pen, and tackle it like a painting, crossing out, writing in, highlighting. Then I go back to the computer.
If your inspiration dries up, I recommend going old school and writing with a pen. Perhaps the fresh medium will bring fresh ideas. K.M Weiland has a post listing other benefits of writing longhand.
What do you still handwrite?