Tag Archives: longhand

NaNoWriMo the Longhand Way

imageI’ve been thinking about doing NaNoWriMo a little differently this year.

I recently stumbled on this post on Neil Gaiman’s blog from back in 2007, when he was in the middle of writing The Graveyard Book (I got there, as usual, by some convoluted route while I was procrastinating. It’s how I find most of the interesting things I come across.)

I loved seeing the blank book in which Gaiman wrote his first draft. I know he writes all his novels in longhand, using a fountain pen, which sounds both wonderful and tiring to me. But I admit to trying out the longhand way this summer. It never quite took, though. For me, there’s something about my fingers flying along a keyboard that really lets me get the image in my head down onto paper in just the right way.

But I think the children’s book that I’ll be working on as part of NaNoWriMo next month (my intention is to work on two projects simultaneously) would benefit from being written in longhand.

I’m saying this after what happened with last year’s NaNoWriMo project, WAVERLEY. I “won” NaNoWriMo last year, hitting over 50,000 words in November. But after that, I got stuck, so I set the project aside to mature for a bit.

Now, usually this is what happens when I reread something I’ve set aside for a while: I almost always think it’s better than I remembered; but not so in this case. I ended up cutting 33,000 words from it.

And back then I had thought I’d be able to plunge back into rewriting the words that I’d kept. But I haven’t been able to. Because I realized something else a little while after that.

I’d written a very different story than the one I wanted to write.

And I’ve been thinking today, it’s because I wrote it on the computer. My writing brain took a look, found a tangent it liked, and basically took the whole story down another rabbit hole.

(I actually think that tangent is a good tangent on its own, just not a good fit with the story I was trying to tell.)

Also, doing NaNoWriMo the longhand way gives me an excuse to find “just the right notebook” and “just the right pen”. Such excuses are worth their weight in gold!

What about you? Do you write on the computer, or by hand? Or a bit of both?