On Writing By Hand

Every morning I wake and lie in bed for a moment, my mind scanning the day ahead.  And then it clicks: I'm writing! More specifically, I'm working on a novel and the writing is going well.

This thought fills me with excitement and I jump out of bed.  (Delicately, so as not to shake the house.)

I drink a large glass of water, (12 ounces to be exact), then grab a cup of coffee and head to my current writing spot: a comfy chair in the corner of the living room.

And then I write the novel. 

By hand.

The old-fashioned way.

I work in various colors of ink, depending on which pen I grab.  All my words go into the same spiral-bound notebook, though I'm nearly finished with the first and will need to start a new one soon.

Some days I write three pages, others I write a paragraph.  Some days I read over scenes and add to them, others I think deep thoughts and then write. 

The point is, I'm making steady progress.

Sometimes I start out working on one scene and get an inspiration for a different one.  So I work on that.  My spiral is filled with notes and directions to myself, such as: "1A Scene in Car," or "3B Goes After Scene in Restaurant."  I'm doing my best to stay organized as I write, but this is one of the disadvantages of writing by hand.  And it's also one of the things I love–the sheer crazy rawness of the actual pages, with addendums and arrows and additions and crossed out words.

I laugh whenever I think about or working on my novel in this way.  I laugh when I discuss it with other people (as I have been doing with clients and in my Get Your Novel Written Now class).  I don't know why my novel is coming out this way.  I only know that it is and that when I sat at the computer to write it, the words didn't flow, period. 

And now they are flowing, so who am I to argue with my muse?

I'm experiencing the pure joy of writing.  I feel freer writing this draft in this manner than I have in ages, and I'm allowing myself to go directions I wouldn't otherwise go.  (As for the quality, who knows?  I'm not worrying about that at the moment.)

By the way, during my writing sessions my husband wanders the house, getting ready for work.  My asthmatic dog, who is over a hundred in people years, coughs and hacks.  My cats meow.  The radio is on.  My friend texts.  All this is happening as I write and still I keep going.  I could easily move to the chair in my quiet office buy my muse demands I sit in the living room.

And so I do, and marvel at how different this process is from the last time I wrote a novel. 

Every book is different.  Everyone's writing process varies.  I can give you tips on what works for me and others most often, but to be successful you've got to find your own way.

Find yours and get started.

How about it?  What's your process?  Does it stay the same or vary?

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted