RSS Feed Print
Writing Longhand
Rhonda Parrish
Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 4:03 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 3

I saw a post about what kind of tools people are using to write, meaning word processing programs, document organisation systems and, of course, dropbox and I thought, 'But what about those of us who write longhand? What tools do we use?'

I write all my first drafts out in longhand with a fountain pen in gorgeous leatherbound notebooks. It's nerdy and decadent and I love it. I love it almost as much as I do the stories themselves.

I write 1st drafts longhand because:

-There is something incredibly rewarding about filling a book with my words in my hand.

-By writing away from the computer I cut the list of my potential distractions in half.

-I can type very quickly, I can't write cursive very quickly or it is unreadable. That slows the speed at which I spill words onto the page, giving me time to think about them a little bit first and resulting in a stronger first draft.

-I feel more connected to the process

-Did I mention no internet distractions?

I bet there are other reasons I write longhand first drafts, but those are the ones who spring to mind right now. What about you, do you write anything longhand? Why do you do it? What kind of pens/notebooks do you use?

Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 7:37 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 8

I wish I had the patience to do stories in longhand. I make too many mistakes, and delete is a lot easier than white out. I do keep a few journals in moleskine style notebooks though. I find if I write out a page or two before my fiction writing, it gets me in the right mindset for the work.
Rhonda Parrish
Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 11:10 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 3

Sometimes I feel like I should keep a journal again, but so far I haven't taken it up As for white out... well, let's just say that most of my stories have almost as many things crossed out as not.

Another reason I like writing first drafts longhand that I forgot to include is that I get my first revision done while I'm transcribing from my notebooks into Word
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 3:14 AM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

I thought I was the only person who preferred to write by hand. Nice to know I was wrong. =)
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 9:17 AM
Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 11

I write most things in longhand. I type quickly so I think writing longhand lets me slow down and think about what I'm putting on the paper. Also seeing something in print or on a screen makes it feel more permanent.

I was on a panel at a convention a year or so ago which covered this and all three panel members pulled out the notebooks they carry around with them on a daily basis. One of the guys, an artist as well as a writer, commented that our first interaction with the written word was through writing longhand, so we naturally lean towards that as a first stage. A new generation of writers might approach it in a completely different way.

It does depend on what I'm writing though. But for fiction, I generally prefer longhand - ideally a nibbed ink pen and an A4 spiral bound notebook. I have a collection of fancy notebooks but find it very hard to use them to actually write.
Alexander Hollins
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 6:02 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

I'll outline in longhand , and if a scene pops into my head, write it out, but when Im actually sitting down on schedule to write, keyboard me. but thats because if I don't transcribe my writing within a day or two, it becomes illegible to me.
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 9:45 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 25

I used to prefer to write longhand, but I hated the process of transcribing everything to my computer. Now, I mostly use my computer to write, but I still write out notes longhand.
I kind of wish I could buy a big fancy leather notebook and write an entire book in it...but then I'd just have to transcribe the whole thing!
Jessie Kwak
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 3:50 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 27

I do a combination of both longhand and computer writing. If I find myself getting stuck at the keyboard, I can often free my writing by switching to my notebook. Sometimes I find even the lines of the notebook to be too constricting, and I grab some blank computer paper and start scribbling all over that. I've even gotten to the point where I'm jotting ideas and images onto post-it notes, tearing them off and tossing them into a pile on the floor.

Now that's a writing style you just can't replicate with a computer,

I have a whole stack of nice journals that I've been gifted over the years, but they're all still blank because I find their prettiness too intimidating. I do most of my writing in cheap spiral-bound notebooks with a souvenir New York pen my dad gave me years ago.
Posted: Sunday, May 1, 2011 1:23 AM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 51

I've started switching back and forth between longhand and typing lately. I use a Moleskine XL Ruled Cahier and a Pilot G-Tec 4C (I think that's what it's called) pen, which is awesome since it's archival gel ink with a .4mm tip. When I remember to fill it, I use my Lamy Safari fountain pen, too.

Most of my planning is done longhand in regular large or pocket Mokeskine notebooks. I carry these with me all the time for jotting down notes. I prefer the small one if I'm someplace public, like a restaurant, though I'll use the large one in the car.

If I'm writing scenes longhand, I generally only write a page or two before typing it all up. And I type scenes in between, too. Mostly I write longhand when I'm doing other things, too (I love to write as I'm working, whenever I'm waiting for my computer to do something, and I've found I can actually write a lot like that—sometimes 1k-2k words in a day).
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 8:34 AM
Joined: 5/2/2011
Posts: 14

I write my short stories in longhand. Because they are short, I generally have the whole story already narrated in my head as I stare contemplatively at the blank page. As I start writing, I try to remember how I worded it in my head and am careful to be neat.
I need my pages unlined. The lined pages dictate spaces between lines and how many lines on a page. I am usually untidy, so I need a pristine white page to make the effort and structure the look of my writing as well as the prose.
For longer stories I might take notes on pages (random sheets torn from random books- often lost), but I write in MS Word.
Rhonda Parrish mentions internet distractions, but since I keep it switched off and my Word is free of frills, I actually concentrate better while writing with my keyboard.
Also I tire a lot sooner if I write pages and pages in longhand. My enthusiasm wanes- prose suffers.
Christie Renzetti
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 4:42 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 7

I do switch it up a bit (although I sometimes find it easier to get started on the computer simply because I can type as fast as I can think the words and it helps me get unblocked).

I scribble notes in cheap spiral bound notebooks and on index cards (I love notebooks and pens and various other office supplies!!!) with just plain old regular bic crystal sticks.

I also have a supply of coloured pens hanging around for when I'm in that kind of mood.

I try to transcribe all of those to the computer as quickly as possible.

The main reason that I try to do this, is that I find if I have TOO many scraps of paper with notes on them, that they get lost, or misplaced, or the cats decide to give their input and I never see them again...

However I love the idea of the fountain pen (it would force me to slow down and actually be able to read my own handwriting) and I think I'll give that a try the next time I'm working through a block!
Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011 6:43 PM
Joined: 5/4/2011
Posts: 20

Being left handed, writing long hand leaves smears and all sorts of smudges. Anything longer than a sentence and my entire hands turns black.
L R Waterbury
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 8:42 PM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 60

I alternate between a computer and writing longhand, but find I accomplish more when I stick to the computer, however much using the thing when writing fiction galls me.

I'm a bit fetishistic when it comes to my handwriting. I use drafting pens (they have the finest nibs and smoothest ink) or gel pens (sometimes fountain, but the nibs don't get fine enough for my tastes) in notebooks with the hardest paper I can find. If you're like me, you'll know what hard paper means. I also prefer either unlined paper or grid paper because I have tiny handwriting and most ruled paper has lines that are too far apart and I think it looks ugly. So, basically, I am obsessed with how 'pretty' my writing looks, which leads to some issues. I don't like to cross out ('cause that would be ugly) and so I don't fix stuff enough and have to try and remember where I went wrong when I go to transcribe to the computer.

I'm trying now to find a balance between longhand and computer. Even on the computer, I confess, I obsess about the font.

Jump to different Forum...