Friday, March 2, 2012

By Hand

I've spent the last few weeks doing something I never thought I'd do - writing out the last few chapters to my story with paper and pen. I didn't start writing seriously until a few years ago, and I've always used my computer. I type pretty quickly - not lightning speed, but fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. I certainly type much more quickly than I write with a pen.

But, you know what? It was fun! My handwriting is loopy & more than a little messy when I'm writing quickly, so I used every 2nd line. I even went out & bought a nice little notebook made from sustainable sugar cane which had a nice hard cover. Easy to sit on my bed or couch and write.

And the best part of all is the ending that I've been stuck on is flowing. I made some changes to my airy-fairy plan as I went. And it's working! I'm not done - and I'll need to go back in and revise (obviously), but I'm happy with how it's going. It's been a really nice surprise!

(The down side is - I'm going to have to do it again. My computer issues are not the battery - it's something else by the looks of it. I've got to send it BACK to Repair Land. Things get shipped out Monday, so I'm hanging on to it until the last minute on Sunday. Then I'll be out of commission ... again. I'm SOOOOO frustrated with the whole thing right now!)

So, do you ever do any of your writing by hand? How do you like it?

55 comments:

  1. Until NaNo 2010, I'd always written by hand. I'm a very slow typist - hunt and peck style - and while I don't write much faster, it feels easier.
    Sorry about your computer frustrations!!!!

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  2. Alex - Thanks - I'm going slowly crazy! My parents insisted I take 'typing' in high school - so glad they did! :)

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  3. Funnily enough, most of my first novel was written by hand. Even now, I revert back to the good-old-pen-and-paper. And as you have discovered, it's quite a different experience!

    Sorry to hear about your computer frustrations too. Most annoying!

    All the best with your writing, Jemi. You'll get there. I just know it :)

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  4. Hi Wendy! It really is a totally different experience. Probably a really good idea to try for writers with writer's block. Yeah - my computer is driving me a little batty right now! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods :)

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  5. I wrote my first novel by hand. I hate those computer problems. Hope you get it back soon.

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  6. Susan - wow! I'm impressed! I don't know if I could do a whole novel, but I've found it so different, it's crossed my mind to try it for my next story. We'll see! :)

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  7. I only do my outlining and note taking in long hand. Actual writing is typed.

    I hope your return to computer normalcy is on the horizon! :)

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  8. I wrote about a quarter of my first ms by hand on typing (non-lined) paper. I still do it once in awhile if I'm having voice issues - somehow it brings the character to life better than the computer screen.

    My computer had to go to repair land 3 times and I was sold 2 or 3 different cords and an extra battery before they discovered it's a short in the computer and if I plug the computer in with the battery popped out for awhile, it resets itself. Good luck!
    erica

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  9. DL - you and me both! This is truly driving me over the edge! I don't outline or take many notes, but I can see how pen and paper would work for that!

    Erica - I'm going to try that! You never know! And I did find it different writing by hand - somehow a different aspect of the story worked itself out! :)

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  10. I've written a few stories and part of an unfinished novel by hand, but these days I do almost all of my writing with a keyboard.

    Sorry to hear about your (continuing) computer problems!

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  11. I've never written actual chapters in long hand. Lots of notes...

    I'm not sure if I would have the patience, to slow down enough to write more in pen. After reading this though, it sounds as if slowing down has given you more clarity with what you're writing. I might actually be tempted.

    Sorry to hear about the computer problems sweet friend. I hope this go around they find the actual problem. (Hugs)Indigo

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  12. Golden - I feel like I'm about to scream with this computer (and I'm a pretty calm person!). It's driving me nuts!

    Indigo - thanks! I hope so too. I've been more off the computer than on in the past month. So frustrating! Writing by hand did give an interesting viewpoint - I think I'll be trying it again next week!

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  13. I keep a journal, though not as faithfully as in school. I'm glad the writing is coming together for you in longhand and I love the sound of that notebook you bought.It's nice to know we can always fall back on pencil and paper.

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  14. Yvonne - I didn't think I could rely on paper and pen, so it really is nice to know. I did journal in high school - I'd forgotten about that! :)

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  15. wow. When I first started writing, I thought that would be the way I had to do it, but turns out I can't write as fast as I need to. I'm much better typing. Huge bummer about your computer! Hang in there.

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  16. Terry - I'm so much faster typing too - but the writing by hand was strangely productive. It was weird because I wasn't expecting it at all! :)

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  17. I "can't" write by hand anymore. Carpal tunnel. And I had really nice handwriting too! I feel your pain on the computer issues. My main PC bit the dust and we're making do with our laptops until summer.

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  18. Beth - carpal tunnel sucks! I've got some beginning symptoms, but so far, not too bad. With your job, it must be really frustrating! I only have the laptop, so I don't have a backup. Looking at the budget to see if I can fix that! :)

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  19. I never thought I'd write by hand, but I tried it last year while on vacation so I wouldn't lose the momentum of my first draft. I bought a pretty notebook and discovered that it really helps me focus to write by hand. There's no distractions and I tend to see the page better. I also do several rounds of revision on paper.

    It takes a little longer, but I think it's worth it!

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  20. Oh well done you with your handwritten chapters of your ms! Yay!! That's brilliant!

    Me - my handwriting has been condemned and banned for health and safety reasons! LOL! Hoorah for the invention of the typewriter!

    Good luck with your pc probs!! Hope they get solved soon! Take care
    x

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  21. Stephanie - it's amazing how much having a pretty notebook helps with the writing. I've always loved my notebooks! I haven't tried the revisions on paper yet - that'll be down the road! :)

    Old Kitty - too funny! My sister has perfectly gorgeous handwriting - my is just acceptable - but it worked! :)

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  22. Hey, Jemi,

    Sorry about the computer glitches. That surely is a bummer.

    Writing by hand is fun... I had recently went to a seminar and instead of typing my notes ... on computer, I decided to had write them.

    I haven't written anything by hand in YEARS. I used to have a lovely artistic scroll, but it has become so scratchy form lack of use and arthritis in my figures. Not fun.

    But after a half hour or so of chicken scratch my flair returned and with each new day I loved writing by hand again. In the margins an occasional illustration would pop up when the inspiration hit me.

    The people next to me all commented positively. So, although back on my computer, I think I just might for shorter writing assignments, such as poetry, I will return to the classic ways.

    Good luck with your computer. I hope you have it back soon.

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  23. Thanks Michael! I really hope it comes back soon too.

    What a great experience for you. As a teacher, I still do write by hand with my students, but it is different. I used to write poetry once upon a time - and I always did it by hand too. Maybe I need to do some of that again! :)

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  24. Impressive! Maybe that's what I need to try for the ending of my story... And the re-typing could be more like an edit. Not too shabby!

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  25. Mary - exactly! I edited the hand written stuff as I transcribed. Eliminated at least one typing step. It worked well :)

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  26. Yes, I write by hand fairly frequently. It unlocks a certain creative part of my brain that just doesn't open when I type, so if I'm blocked I go back to pen and paper.

    Yay for your creative burst. :)

    Also, now you have a valid excuse to buy pretty notebooks and buy pens. Finding the perfect pen is exhilarating.

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  27. Lola - it really is! There's nothing quite like having a good reason to buy pens, notebooks, post it notes, ... Love it all! :)

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  28. Hi, Jemi. So sorry about the computer problems. Was hoping the battery was going to fix everything for you.

    I went back to writing by hand and I'm so glad I did. I actually write faster by hand and I'm not going back and trying to correct everything right after I've written it.

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  29. I started out writing by hand so it still feels pretty natural to me - but it's a nice change from typing, which I do 90% of the time now.

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  30. Susanne - thanks. I hoped all would be well, but it's not to be :(. I write much slower by hand, but it really was a good experience that I'll do again! :)

    Ms Hatch - I think I'll keep writing some sections by hand - it was fun!

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  31. Yes, I do my writing by hand! That's how I start every novel. I can't start a story on the computer. I don't know why. I have to start with a pencil and notebook. Then I transfer it to my computer, and often I can continue while on the computer. But if I'm ever stuck on something, or am starting an intense new scene, I go right back to pencil and notebook. For some reason writing longhand opens a creative channel for me that the computer just doesn't have.

    I'm glad you enjoyed writing longhand, Jemi! Hope you have a great weekend :)

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  32. Laura - that's so cool. I wouldn't have thought it would have worked for me a month or so ago, but now I agree. It was very different writing on paper - and I liked lots of aspects of it. I think I'll keep trying it for different parts! :)

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  33. I've recently discovered that nothing helps me get back on track more than writing long hand does. It seems to be foolproof!

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  34. Julie - it does! I had NO idea that it would make any difference at all - but it really did! :)

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  35. paper and pen? Going retro I see :)))

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  36. Hopde your pc problems are resolved quickly, My you are brave to do your work by pen and paper, I think we have all been spoilt by the computer, Good luck Jemi.

    Yvonne.

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  37. Dezzy - retro it is! And, strangely, it's working! :)

    Yvonne - thanks - I hope they get fixed too! We really have been spoiled with all this glorious technology - I love it all!

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  38. I do occasionally write notes by hand, especially if I'm like waiting somewhere and don't have a computer near. Now though I find myself printing rather then using cursive.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge
    Blogging from A to Z

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  39. I always write my brainstorming notes by hand first and then revisit them on the keyboard. I had to write by hand when I had jury duty last fall. You're right, it is freeing to be connected to the actual shape of the words.

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  40. I almost always write my books on the computer (except for what I write in my writing circle). But for this book, I'm writing longhand. I don't know why, but I'm enjoying it and it's working, so I don't plan to stop!

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  41. Lee - wow - printing would take me forever!! I'm not a fast printer. It is a good idea to always have a notebook with us though!

    Leslie - it surprised me how much I enjoyed the hand writing- didn't expect it at all. I'm glad I know it works now!

    Beth - definitely don't stop! I'm wondering what it would be like to start by hand for my next idea too. It'll be interesting!

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  42. I would be a MESS if I was without my computer!!! But I would hope that I would take my writing seriously enough to continuing to write by hand, as you are! Kudos to you!

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  43. I'm impressed with your positive attitude and the way you're working around the computer issues. Writing by hand is hard for me because I have a tendency toward dystonia in my right hand (basically, my hand gives out and loses coordination. Like writer's cramp but more severe) So I only write outlines by hand. I type all manuscripts. But I'm glad you're enjoying your writing! Good luck with it!

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  44. Thanks Margo - I felt so lost for the day or two that it took me to actually think of writing by hand. D'uh! I felt so much better once I started!

    Shelley - that would be an annoying condition. Thankfully computers exist! And I'm thinking once my arthritis gets bad I'll be able to use those speach to text programs. I'm so glad technology keeps getting better!

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  45. I usually start everything on paper. I was starting every chapter of my new wip on paper, but then it started coming so quickly I switched over to writing it all on the computer. It was quite a surprise to me that I could do it on the computer, but when I go on holiday, I'll just take paper and pen with me. (I have to skip every other line too.)

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  46. Sharon - I envy these people with smaller, easy to read writing, but mine's liveable! I also like the idea of just packing a notebook and pen - so much easier & fun too! :)

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  47. I couldn't survive without my computer to write on. It makes editing so much easier. :D

    Hope you don't have to wait too long, Jemi, to get your computer back.

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  48. Stina - it really does make life and editing easier. Drafting has been fun via paper, but I didn't print out the ms - that would have been smart... *sigh*

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  49. I get ideas about almost everything and write them down when I'm not at a computer or at work (new job is crazy busy). I can't write as fast as my thoughts though and have to retype them soon, or I can't make out all that I wrote quickly. lol
    I hope your computer gets fixed correctly very soon!!
    Hugs,
    Coreen

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  50. Coreen - Thanks - I hope it's not too long. I never have time at work to even scribble down ideas - so I know how you feel. It's hard to not be able to get the ideas down when they're fresh!

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  51. Oh my gosh, you've had so many problems with that laptop! How frustrating!!!

    I only write by hand when I'm stuck in really boring and unimportant faculty meetings. People think I'm taking notes.

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  52. Diane - it really, really has been frustrating! I LOVE your idea! I'm going to have to try that next boring meeting I'm at! :)

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  53. I prefer typing. When I get into writing then go back and try and read what I wrote, it;s not always that easy.

    UGH, sorry your computer is going back for more work.

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  54. I write everything by hand. I chew up the notebooks and writing journals. I also go through a ton of ink pens.

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  55. Holly - thanks - it's super frustrating at this point!

    Diane - I bet you do! I'll definitely do it more often now that I know that it works! :)

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