Thursday, November 19, 2009

Writing by Hand

I mentioned on Saturday that I am writing my story for NaNoWriMo by hand. I have a one-subject, wide-ruled spiral notebook that I am using, and this last weekend I picked up two more to keep the story going as the first is almost full.

The first Sunday of NaNo, I met with other writers at the local library. One was making notes and outlines in a small notebook. The other three had computers. I planned to start in my notebook just because it was Sunday and my husband had the computer for his Fantasy Football tracking. It is a Sunday tradition. Besides, I prefer to draft by hand. So, I pulled my neon-green notebook out of my purse and one of the other writers said something like, "Oh... you're going to write by hand?"

It made me a little self-conscious, especially since the question was raised by a teen-ager who had a small pile of his first novel sitting next to him. But as the afternoon went on, I scribbled away, happily, in my notebook. And when I did a word count at home, it turned out that I had written more in my notebook while I was there than the computing folks had in the same amount of time.

I have discovered that writing by hand is actually the most convenient method for me. My notebook fits comfortably in my cavernous purse, so I can have it with me wherever I go - a coffee shop to write, school when I have a break while subbing, or in the pick up line while waiting for my son.

Not only is it wonderfully portable, but I love the feel of the pen on paper as I try to record the things I see or hear in my head when I write. I love being able to draw arrows and scribble something out and then decide I want to keep it - and I can! Drafting and editing/revision by hand has always worked well for me.

Anyway, I read recently that writing by hand can be better for the writing process. I found a few sites that talk about it. This one is a short article. This one includes an interview with a writer who has written about creative writing. My favorite part is where the writer talks about student writing samples and the difference between those who draft on paper and those who draft on the computer. Finally, I found this one that talks about one particular student who was struggling with writing. Check it out and find out the difference for this student in the pieces she wrote by hand and the ones she did on the computer.

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