Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Forgotten Art of Longhand Writing

 Today I did something that I have always loved doing, writing in longhand. Normally I switch on the computer and tap away furiously at my laptop keys. This new WIP, needed  me to revert to my long forgotten roots. When I started writing, I would write with a blue ball point pen on lined foolscap sheets. The first drafts were always on paper.

These would then be transferred to the computer. As I got busy with other things, I started writing on the computer itself to save time. I would just open a word document and start typing. Somewhere with my busy schedule I had forgotten the joys of writing longhand.

When I picked up the reams of foolscap sheets presented to me by my dad (dad had searched long and hard in Bangalore to get these lined foolscap sheets, I had just casually mentioned to him that I was missing my usual paper as the stationary shops near our house had all closed down). I was thrilled. Nothing like visiting old times. Yesterday, the first day of the week I started writing the rough outline of the first book of my Middle Grade Paranormal Trilogy. I am rewriting the first book, keeping just few scenes from the original draft.

It was sheer pleasure to watch the sheets fill up with my handwriting. Every filled page sent ripples of delight coursing through my body. By the end of the day, I was quite happy with my writing progress. While writing, the feel of the smooth paper was bliss. I don’t know why, but I prefer staring at a blank sheet of paper than a blank screen. A blank screen tempts me to open my browser and check my mails, blog or facebook.

I feel longhand writing really unleashes my creativity. It sure turns my normal moody muse into a caring and helpful creature. It also sets free my blocked and choked up brain cells. For a few days I have decided to carry  around the page in which  I have outlined the plot, so that I can fine tune the outline and add more to it.

I know it’s a lengthy process: first writing, then typing. I am just going to write chapter outlines and the major scenes, not the entire book. Lot of it will get changed while writing the consecutive drafts. I am seeing the positive side of it. While typing I can also edit and make the changes.

What about you all? Do you cherish the times when you wrote longhand or do you prefer its quicker version; typing once for all on the computer. What do you all feel about writing longhand? Is it too cumbersome for you all? What is your writing method?
             

20 comments:

Rahul Bhatia said...

Rachna, I still write, at least the poetry in a notebook and the thrill it gives cannot be recounted!The smell of paper and drying ink( prefer a fountain pen!)is just a bliss!

Carole Anne Carr said...

I still remember the time when I bought those beautiful sheets of paper by the ream. And yes, I can still write in cursive script and still use a pen, but sadly not very often.

Jim Murdoch said...

No, I don’t especially miss writing by hand. I still do it on occasion but as I have a keyboard always to hand these days I even write poems straight onto the screen. I like the fact that the poem looks like the finished product there and then. I have no hard and fast rule. I wrote a fair bit of my fourth novel by hand for no better reason that it felt right. I sat at the same desk where my PC lives and wrote in a yellow legal pad (which is what Woody Allen uses BTW). The last novel was written entirely on a computer, printed out and then edited and the edits typed up. I tend to go with the flow.

Karen Lange said...

I used to be most comfortable writing in longhand - it seemed the best way to go. But now I write most everything on my laptop. Not sure when I made the transition; perhaps when I used a typing tutorial and increased my typing speed. I should try longhand just for fun. I would probably enjoy it. Thanks for your thoughts!

Have a great week,
Karen

Madeleine said...

How fabulous!
I hurt my wrist in 1998 and my handwriting is rather dreadful these days as a result. i agree that switching on computer leads to Internet temptations, so I often turn off the router just to ghet on with my writing. If I had a separate novel computer that would work betttr for me. LOL!
I can imagine writing long hand does have a different satisfaction.

Shallee said...

I haven't written longhand in a very long time, but you make me want to buy a notebook and try it again!

mooderino said...

I do liek writing longhand, but my problem is my handwriting is so bad I often can't work out what I wrote.

mood

Moody Writing
@mooderino
The Funnily Enough

Anu said...

This article made me say wow!!!....I love colorful pens and pencils....I still prefer using pen and papers over comp....totally loved it

Mark Noce said...

My wife insists on writing longhand, but I usually only do it on vacation. It's a great way to reconnect with the art of writing on a very tactile level. Very cool:)

SBJones said...

I haven't written anything other than notes and outlines by hand. All the writing I do has been on the computer.

My hands get cramped if I try to write for too long. I can type a good 4-5000 words in a day before my fingers get tired. But I would be at 1,000 words written by hand before they get sore.

Lynda R Young said...

oh my gosh!! Yesterday I had to write in long hand because I was finding so many distractions on the computer--including editing as I wrote. Writing longhand, I ended up completing 3000 words!

Julia Hones said...

I always write longhand my first draft, the one on which I pour everything. Then, on a second stage, I go to my laptop and start rewriting and editing on the screen. (If I were to start on the computer, my inner editor would not let my creativity flow out of my mind).

The Golden Eagle said...

I haven't written fiction longhand in a while . . . ever since we got a computer, I've done all my drafting (except for a few pages here and there) with a keyboard. I do enjoy longhand, though. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Friends..I am noticing that most of us love writing longhand, but due to time constraints have moved on to writing on the computer.

Wishing all my friends a Happy Thanksgiving.

Robyn Campbell said...

It is good to write things out in longhand, Rachna. It makes us slow down and think. As you said, watching the paper fill up is most satisfying. But then comes the ugly fact that I have to type it all in. So why not just type it in the first place. Ack!

Have a wonderful week. *waving and smiling*

cherie said...

I have carpal tunnel syndrome (my fingers get stiff and start hurting when I write longhand for a long time) so I limit those for short notes, poetry, writing short stories, but never a novel-length work. I do longhand for plot outlines, too.

I do agree that there is something special about writing longhand. Probably because your handwriting is much more personal and part of you, than say, the keys on the keyboard.

Happy writing!

Stephen Tremp said...

The computer has revolutionized the way we write. I key almost all written communications. I wonder if I will ever use cursive again.

Life Unordinary said...

My cursive writing is barely legible and I don't enjoy writing at all. Typing is the only way I can do it.

On another note Rachna, I had an interview on BlogJunta and have a shout out to you on the question "how do you choose the blogs you follow"

http://www.blogjunta.com/Bloggerz2020/bloggerz-20-20-gayatrirao

gargimehra said...

This post totally rings true for me. I love writing in longhand and find it unleashes my creativity and puts an end to any manner of ‘writer’s block.’ To edit the piece though, I type it up and do that all stuff on the computer.

Naina Gupta said...

I'm a long hand fan and proud. You actually have more time to think that way, because it takes longer to write than think.