Ink-Stained Scribe

Longhand vs. Typing

Feather Pen by free graphics art
This past weekend I set aside the word-processor, picked up a pen and notebook, and words came out like I hadn't forced them to in weeks.

Since finishing the first draft of BULL-RUSHING THE GHOST, I haven't done a lot of writing. It's all been editing, revising, and reworking middle places. Apart from burning out at work and going nuts preparing for (and recovering from) Dragon*Con, I was exhausted. I started rebelling against the works I needed to edit, but it left me feeling a wee bit guilty about starting anything new because, well, I have to edit all the things (all the things?) and really shouldn't add more onto that pile.

Top of the list was a rewrite of the first chapter of one of my novel-length works. Last Friday night, I went to a local coffee shop and purposefully left my computer at home. I took only a notebook, a pen, and enough cash for an Irish coffee (or two).

With a clear outline of what I needed to write, I put pen to paper. The words staggered out at first, blinking at the starkness of the paper, growling and flailing at each other before grudgingly acquiescing to the flow of the scene. The process was halting at first, but soon enough the familiar energy spurred me on. My own "floating world", as the Japanese call it, is that transcendent state of writing where I'm no longer seeing the page in front of me, but seem to be a part of the world I'm writing about.

Ten pages later, I came up for air and sat back, immensely relieved.

Because sometimes you forget what it's like. Sometimes, it's good to know that you're still capable of getting lost in your own world. Pen and paper does this for me in a way that a word processor can't. I may be able to write much faster on a word processor, but I never manage to sink into that madness of the written word as easily.

I went looking for some articles on longhand versus type-writing, and I've found a couple good ones:

I found both of these articles very interesting. Have more? Leave them in the comments!

Do you notice a difference in your writing when you write longhand versus when you write shorthand? Which do you prefer? Why?