Why I’m Writing This Manuscript by Hand

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In a recent blog post, I described my current writing process which involves pretty, colorful index cards. I told you that I am prone to anxiety and that breaking up my story into chapters, and then into scenes, has been working well for me. Handling little bits instead of huge chunks can make the writing process less overwhelming whether you are an anxious person or not. Writing a book is a mammoth task and there is no one way to write it, so we writers have to figure out what works best for us.

A few days ago, I started working on my next manuscript after weeks of procrastinating. It happened by fate that I reached the coffee shop without my phone that day. But thank goodness that my little notebook and pen were with me. So I decided not to waste time and finally start the book which was already outlined scene by scene the previous week. You see, I am famous for my addiction to overpriced coffee and I feel guilty if I leave the cafe with no productivity to show. To show myself, of course. So I started writing this story by hand. I started with the first chapter. Then I came home and typed it out to find a word count of 1280 which was a decent start. While I typed my words into the word processor document, I found myself making little edits here and there. Something that could have been written better. Something that needed another line or two of detail.

The next day, I wrote in my notebook again. Another chapter. I am still using my index cards to keep track of scenes and order. Further in the process, I may change the order a bit or put in a new scene or two. That happened with my last novel (which is yet to be published). It has been four days since I started writing this way, with my author friends mostly wondering why I’m putting in this extra time when I could just type it all out in one go. I tell them it works for me. One of them said that she wrote her first couple of books by hand, years ago. I guess sophisticated writing software has changed things.

Here are the pros and cons of writing your book by hand as I experience it.

PROS

  • You don’t keep on checking your word count.
  • You get the opportunity for early editing as you type it out later.
  • You can scribble little notes on the sides as you go along.
  • You get to use lots of pretty stationery.
  • Your thoughts may flow better with a pen in your hand.

CONS

  • Your wrist and fingers could hurt after a few sessions.
  • You could save paper/the environment instead.
  • It is difficult to delete and make changes in the notebook once you’ve filled the page.
  • If time is a constraint, you could be better off using the computer/iPad only.

As I write, I feel like I’m back in college. Writing by hand seems to let my creativity flow with zero distractions — like Facebook and Twitter or e-mail. When I’m with my notebook and pen, I forget that the internet exists. Which is a big deal for a social media addict like myself.

Try writing by hand and let me know your thoughts 🙂

4 thoughts on “Why I’m Writing This Manuscript by Hand

  1. Didn’t work for me Sue. I didn’t think the quality improved, and it just doubled the time in re-typing it word for word.

    As to distractions I swear by my giant egg timer which runs for 40 minutes during which time I’m not allowed to do anything but write. Then a break, check mails, make coffee, go again.

  2. I love hand written works more than anything, whether it is mine or somebody else’s. Manuscripts make me feel nostalgic and help me feel the person more intimately, for example my “Past Self”. But the problem I face while writing by hand that my thoughts run faster than my hand. So typing is preferable. Then again I am so forgetful that I can’t even remember what I was thinking a few seconds ago and I lose track of my thoughts. It is surely frustrating. So when I write on a particular topic, I turn the phone recorder on and record whatever I have to say. Then I type them or write whatever I feel like.. Honestly, It does consume so much time…

    P.S. I am not a writer. 🙂

    • Ah, I understand what you’re saying. Many professional writers/authors use dictation software, but I prefer typing or writing with a smooth pen. Thankfully, I write pretty fast 😃

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