I know I promised this post days ago, but my workdays came up in the middle and they have been craaazy. In a good way; new clients, lots of progress, but I end up mind-numbingly tired at the end of the day, and I need to focus my writing time on this marathon.
The marathon is going well. To answer Ruzkin’s question, “Do I think I can keep up the pace?” There’s no think about it. This is no longer an option; it’s a certainty. I will finish this. It’s my willpower versus the story. So far, I’m keeping one step ahead. The cheering is helping immensely, though. Thanks guys!
So, back to Diane’s question; why do I write in long hand?
I’ve tried to explain this three times, and I’ve deleted each attempt. This is try number four. The problem is my explanations keep ending up in a morass of neo-spiritual gobbledegook. I’m a skeptic and an atheist. Neo-spiritualism of any kind is abhorrence to me.
So, the practical side.
1. It forces me to slow down.
My handwriting can’t keep up with my brain; my typing almost can. By handwriting, I force myself to think over each sentence and each new direction before I write. It cuts down on the waffle and the pointless sidetracking. Not entirely, but a lot.
2. There are no distractions.
If I sit at the computer to type, it’s all to easy to twit or checks blogs or e-mail or just mindlessly surf. When I’m at the table, it’s just me and the page. All I have to do to be productive is turn up with my cup of tea, and I get words. Significant words.
3. You get a free edit.
My first drafts are still chemical sludge, but by having to transcribe the handwritten pages into the computer, I get a first-pass edit, to catch some of the more obvious errors, like spending 5 chapters writing ‘east’ when I meant ‘west’. Or the scene where my MC forgot to put his clothes back on and walked naked across the camp, stopping along the way to have a lengthy conversation with his aunt.
Now to the not-practical side. Feel free to skip this part.
Writing by hand is like meditation. When I put pen to paper, the physical act, the movement, becomes soothing. Time disappears. The story flows unbidden from my subconscious to my hand. I just spell out the words.
Aside from the pleasure of making forward progress, the very act of writing words has become part of the art. The journey takes on a significance that it lacked when the pathway was keyboard and screen.
Whether you call it the muse or the creative energy or the subconscious mind, there is a wellspring of creativity that we tap into to write. I’ve always had difficulty pushing past the logical side of mind (a.k.a the editor) to reach it. Now I barely hear a murmur from the inner censor when I write. Oh, he’s as loud as ever afterwards, but during, there’s a pool of silence in my mind, a peaceful place where I can write without fear.
I did warn you. But that’s the best way I can describe how it feels to write by hand.
I can only say; try it. If the way you currently write isn’t working for you, give it a go. Be prepared to take time to get used to it; I would struggle to get 200 words when I started. Now I’m producing between 1000 and 2000 words a day, in under 2 hours. Take the time, you might be surprised at the results.
I know I was.