A New (Old) Writing Goal


I’ve embarked on a new writing goal – new for right now, but it’s the same writing goal that worked so well for me last year, when I finally managed to finish up the first draft of the novel I’d started for the 2008 NaNoWriMo.

My target? 20 minutes a day.

The main difference this time around is that I’ve decided to write longhand for now. I haven’t written fiction in longhand for a very long time – I have always loved the feeling of keyboard keys beneath my fingers, and since I type very quickly, I’m able to keep up with the flow of words that generally comes to me when I get deep into my writing.

When I’m writing longhand, once I get into the flow of the writing, I normally have to slow down my thoughts so that my hand can keep up.

But … writing at my computer hasn’t been working for me lately. I’ve been spending more time away from the computer – it’s where I have to go to work, but otherwise, I find myself wanting to be everywhere else but my computer. Outside, especially.

So letting myself write longhand means that I can meet a daily writing commitment easily. I’m slotting writing into my morning ritual. It fits in perfectly after I finish my journaling. And by 10:00 in the morning, I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much!

I’m hoping to get my hands on an iPad this summer – it’s on my birthday wishlist – and I’m predicting that once I get that, I’ll be back to writing with a keyboard. But in the meantime, this is working for me!

Do you enjoy writing longhand? Or do you find your writing flows much better on the computer?

20 thoughts on “A New (Old) Writing Goal

  1. Janel

    I’m not much of a long-hand writer. When I use gel pens or pencils I can write a little longer, but for some reason I tend to press harder with ballpoints and I cramp my hands up quickly. Guess I need to switch to a better pen. :)
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Mind Shot: Double Duty =-.

  2. Jemi Fraser

    I don’t write long hand for prose, but I do when I write poetry (which isn’t very often any more). Like you I type pretty quickly and I like not stopping to think when I’m drafting. I’m more and more considering editing with paper, but I haven’t done that yet.
    .-= Jemi Fraser´s last blog ..Mother’s Day Blog Tour =-.

  3. Cat Woods

    I’m with Kathleen. Spoiled by the computer. I used to swear I would never type my first drafts, but after completing my first NaNo on paper–and not being able to verify it–I started writing my NaNos on computer. Over the years, it has evolved into mostly keyboard, little handwriting.

    Except nonfiction. For some reason I can keep my train of thought better on paper for that.

    I hope your new method works for you. It sounds like a nice change of pace and one that can kick start the creative juices again!
    .-= Cat Woods´s last blog ..Research Beyond the Net–Way Beyond =-.

  4. Barbara

    The change just might work for you. I personally prefer to write in longhand for the first draft (which is invariably absolutely awful). Then I put in on the computer editing as I type, and that gives me something I can really work with. Good luck.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Mother’s Day =-.

  5. Margot

    My writing really clicks when I’m typing it. And it’s been that way since my parents gave me a typewriter as a high school graduation present. The hard thing for me is that typing on the computer can be distracting. There are too many places for me to go, to explore when I’m on the computer. Good luck with your new goal. It’s certainly worth a try. Let us know how it works.
    .-= Margot´s last blog ..Wondrous Words #66 =-.

  6. Cathryn

    Good luck on your new approach, it sounds wonderful. I definitely write differently in long hand, a different pace to the story, I think more thoughtful, more internally, if that makes sense. But I do better on a keyboard because longhand cramps my hand and I have a hope of keeping pace with my thoughts on a keyboard.

    I hope you get that iPad! They’re great. I would love one, but I think I still want the physical keyboard, so I think it’s most just wanted for the sheer beauty of the device. 😉
    .-= Cathryn´s last blog ..Tasting Blood =-.

  7. Tammi Kibler

    I recently stopped journaling longhand and switched to the computer. I was taking too long, my hand was cramping, and I couldn’t seem to stay focused on the task. Now I find it a breeze to set a timer, shut off my monitor and just type away.

    I also started using mind mapping software that I love. So nice to be able to grab this thought and drag it over there.

    But some days my brain and my fingers crave the pen and paper. I can’t explain it. I know I will get more done on the computer, but the pull of the notepad is almost hypnotic and I have to work it out in longhand first.
    .-= Tammi Kibler´s last blog ..Writing Career Goals – I’ll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours =-.

  8. Simon L.

    The only time I write longhand is when I’m driving, or when my computer runs out of batteries. And by when I’m driving, I clearly mean when stopped at red lights and in traffic and such, because writing while actually operating a moving vehicle would just be silly and of course I’d never do that. *cough*

    Still, longhand is great for getting writing done when you can’t use your computer. (Feels redundant when you retype it though, doesn’t it?)

  9. Megan

    Oh gosh, writing in longhand KILLS me. My hand starts to go numb after about 5 minutes! And it’s so frustrating not to be able to keep up with my thoughts.

    BUT, I think it is great that you’re trying it! Some people say they think more so they write better that way. And your morning ritual sounds awesome.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..The One Who Had Two =-.

  10. Steve

    I’m a little late to this party but I write long-hand all the time. I use a fountain pen so my hand doesn’t cramp up. It’s just effortless and is a joy to use. For me, the use of a pen is twofold; I simply enjoy it and secondly it allows me to get ideas out fast which I edit as I type them into my computer.

    As for the iPad, what advantage would it have that a laptop does not (except size)? My laptop has a full-sized keyboard (or darned close to it) and is great to work on. I haven’t touched a desktop in over a year.
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Snatching Victory From the Jaws of Defeat =-.

  11. Ann-Kat (Today, I Read...)

    It would seem that you and I are in sync yet again. LOL

    I just sent you an email saying that I started a new story and it’s being entirely written in longhand, then I come by your blog and see this…awesome. :)

    Anyhoo, to answer the question, sometimes it depends. Some of my stories feel better when I write them longhand–I feel closer–and some feel better on the computer (usually the futuristic/sci-fi types).
    .-= Ann-Kat (Today, I Read…)´s last blog ..Book Notes: Stolen by Lucy Christopher =-.

  12. Dorte H

    Normally I write on my laptop (much faster and much easier to read than my handwriting). Now and then I switch to a notebook, though, if I get stuck. Writing on the right kind of paper with the right kind of pen often does the trick. I just write a page or two, and when I have overcome my problem, I return to my handy laptop.
    .-= Dorte H´s last blog ..Åke Edwardson, Næsten død mand (2008) =-.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>