Wednesday, June 16

Hands On

I've been thinking about the pros and cons of both computer and handwritten rough drafts.  I've always typed out my stories because it was faster and I enjoyed the speed, the sounds of the keyboard, and the ease of editing.  However, after much deliberation (and an untrustworthy computer/thumb drive moment or two), I have decided that on my next novel, I will be using a notebook to write the first draft by hand.

Now that I'm nearing the end of Makani's Serenity, I want the freedom of taking my next novel with me wherever I go (Smalls, my laptop [remember "The Sandlot"?], is too heavy to be very portable).  And, I don't want to be limited in my writing by when the skies are clear as opposed to a thunderstorm. (I think that could make great writing weather.  It makes good reading weather, doesn't it?).

I wrote last Saturday's post, The Art of War for Writers - Two, by hand before I transferred it to the blog.  That was the first post I've written that way.  And I must say, I'm hooked.  The soft scratch of the pen on paper, the simplicity to line out words without losing them, the physical closeness to my material, and the ease on my eyes made it pleasant to write.  It was also handy that when I typed it up for the post, I was able to make tweaks to my wording that I hadn't thought of on the first run.  It was like thinking over the same material twice without getting worn out.

So, once I finish Makani's Serenity, I am eager to jump into my next novel with my new, large, hard cover, flowered notebook that I bought yesterday.

How do you prefer to write?


  1. Usually, for first drafts and general ideas, I prefer a ggod notebook and fountain pen. I find it easier to write longhand and then transcribe than I do to reach straight for the keyboard. Editing, on the other hand, is a task I find best suited to tackling at the computer.

  2. I like to carry a notebook and write outside a lot. It is definitely slower and that sometimes hurts me because I don't get as far, but I think my ideas are more developed, and I like to go camping and write by the lake or river quite a bit, and laptops are a bad idea for that.

  3. I'm getting so excited about handwriting that I can't wait for my next novel to switch. I grabbed a handy notebook some ten minutes ago, and it is there that I will finish Makani's Serenity. Here's a picture; it looks funny (yes, I know I misspelled "Serenity" - I was excited).

    Sam, I have a feeling I'm going to use pretty much the same method.

    Callie, I agree! Computer + water (or outside) = bad mix, which has been a bummer for me at times. And I am a little concerned about being slower, since I'll have to type up my words to turn them in, but here's hopin'.

  4. Good question. Historically, I've been a hand-writer. I know that in 6th-8th grade, my creative juices flowed much, much more easily when I was using a pen. Now, I type, and as long as I'm in a certain place in the house (or on a train, which is where I wrote a good chunk of "House Divided"), I'm good. I haven't tried to hand-write in awhile. Maybe I should try and see what happens!

  5. I know another writer who always writes her first draft in several notebooks. Sounds as if it will work for you, too. Give me pen/pencil and paper and I doodle. No words. But I love editing on hard copy. Go figure. Use the process that works best for you.

  6. I think I'm going to like the mobility of handwriting a lot. I've already written more in the past two days than I have in the past week or so.
    And editing on hard copy with an easy to see pen color (I have decided it doesn't always have to be red) is my favorite way to edit in depth!

  7. I would like to think I inspired this in a very tiny degree. I have documentation as well -- a note from a writers' meeting where you wrote that you liked that I write in a notebook and you should start doing this. :) I'm so happy that you're excited about it! It really is amazing, and my favorite way to write the first drafts. And what you type in the computer then becomes your second draft because you do edit as you transcribe. We have the same notebook, btw. :)

  8. Yes, yes. Yes indeed. Credit where credit is due. You did influence my decision to switch. That's funny you have that note. I honestly don't remember that. I know we have the same notebook. It was pretty, and the selection was a little slim.