Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why I Write Longhand

All right.  It's no secret here on the blog that I love to write longhand when I'm working on a novel.  I've pretty much alternated project-to-project with how I write it, whether it's straight into the computer or longhand first.

I've discovered time and again that I do prefer writing longhand first.  Here's why.

1) Writing longhand helps me to focus on story over word count.  I can estimate a word count, but that's only an average count.  Some pages might come out with far fewer words, depending on how much dialogue is there.  (I'm a classic under-writer and have to add in scenery so I have more than just floating heads.)

2) No internet.  Internet=evil.  Internet use is counter to productivity.  If you write longhand you're not on the computer.  Far fewer distractions.

3) Ease of editing.  Okay, now I know what you're thinking.  How easy can editing be when you're writing on paper and it's hard to erase?  You don't edit when you're actually writing it.  The quick edits come when you're typing it into the computer.  So often as I'm transcribing I find that the saids which are so easy to write out when you're on a roll aren't necessary.  Also, you get to really see just how conversations are working as you type it out fresh rather than looking at what's already typed in a future edit and wondering how the scene is working.

4) Portability.  I can take my notebook and iPod pretty much anywhere I want.  Yes, I do have the project binder sitting on my lap so I can reference maps and calendars and all the rest that I need, but the notebook is so much lighter than an actual computer.


  1. Ditto with me. I'd also add that it helps me connect to the writing more easily. I don't like having a screen between us.

  2. That's great that you find longhand so handy. I've only ever written manuscripts on the computer, but I like to take a notebook with me and quickly write a scene or two if I have time. I do like how easy and portable a regular notebook is. Maybe I should try a whole book that way sometime.

  3. I can see that, Bee. Thanks for coming by!

    Shelley, I find that if I have a notebook to write down scene ideas that come to me they're forgotten just as quickly and probably never make it into the actual manuscript. Stay tuned the next few Thursdays as I know I have at least one post planned for some tips and tricks on writing longhand. Thanks for coming by!

  4. Hear, hear! I love writing longhand for all those same reasons. Long live the pen and paper!


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