Recently I posted a picture on IG depicting my current writing venture. . . in manuscript. Most of the time I type when I write because the ideas seem to flow more smoothly and quickly versus writing. Typically, my journals are dedicated to notes, ideas, story concepts, and quick inspirations as they relate to one specific story. But oddly enough, one particular day I picked up an empty journal and a story flowed from me more fluidly than I had known.
I have been typing for so long I practically forgot how liberating pen-to-paper can actually be for a writer. Here is what I’ve learned from that experience and why I intend to handwrite my stories more often.
I feel relaxed when I write – at least I thought I did. When I sit down to my keyboard and start clicking away on the keys it makes me feel – well – busy. Typing makes me feel as if I’m focused and working at a fast pace. But, I also feel a level of stress when typing. As if, I’m up against a deadline and must get as many words out (regardless of quality) as possible. However, the day I sat down with a pen was the day I was reminded of how writing is supposed to feel. My thoughts were more complete. I couldn’t believe I had fewer mistakes. And I even found myself smiling with each stroke of the pen. I was enjoying my craft. Which admittedly, was odd considering I thought I had been enjoying it all along. I have never been more relaxed while writing as I was in that moment.
Perhaps the most shocking experience of reconnecting with the pen and pad was how each stroke of the pen was so in sync with my thoughts. It would be impossible to track how many times the backspace/delete buttons are depressed during a writing session or how many times I change my train of thought while typing. However, as I wrote my story by hand, the number of times the eraser was used never hit double digits. It was as if my mind slowed down and made my words coherent the first time around. My hands and mind were so in sync, it was a thing of beauty.
Upon finishing a session each day my mind was clear. I normally have a sense of relief after writing anyway, but the pen was somehow different. I think I was smiling for at least an hour after I finished my handwritten sessions. I was so proud of the day’s accomplishment – humming, singing, checking other things off of my list. I felt like I had achieved real writing.
One final thing that stood out through my handwriting experience was I made so much progress on the story – more than I have in any other manuscript. Unlike many of my projects, this one is actually almost done! (The first draft that is). Perhaps it was the storyline. Perhaps it was my internal motivation. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence. I’m not sure. What I do know is, in all this time, I have not moved toward the completion of a manuscript as quickly as I have this one. The only factor that has been different is the fact that it is handwritten. There must be something to it. I’m certainly open to exploring it more.
Every writer has their own preference for writing. Some choose handwriting, some choose typing, and some use dictation software. The bottomline is, whatever gets you to that sense of freedom – do it! Ultimately, I will most likely use a combination of forms, but right now this is working. I’ll just let the manuscript at the time guide me. You do the same. Which ever method helps you fully develop your characters, setting, and conflict is the method you should use.
Enjoy you craft and write on!