Handwriting for Fun and Profit

If you’re anything like me, Squiders, you mostly write by typing. Word processor, blank page, type type type. It’s faster, it tells you when you misspell a word (though not when you put the wrong word in), it’s easy to transfer in between devices, and it’s faster to get to your readers/betas/critique group.

So why ever go back to handwriting, with its wrist cramping? You have to be able to read your handwriting (increasingly difficult in this digital age). It takes much longer, and it wastes paper and ink. (Or graphite. Or crayon, if you’re really desperate.)

Well, here are a few reasons you might consider switching to handwriting, if only for a little bit.

1) Portability
There may be times when you can’t take your laptop with you, or you just simply don’t (like you’ve run to the dentist for an appointment, only to find your dentist is running 45 minutes late). You can waste time by reading expired magazines. You can try to type on your phone. (It’s possible that people – probably people who text waaaay more than I do – can actually type at a reasonable speed on their phones. If you are one of these, you are a crazy mutant.)

It’s much easier to just carry a notebook around with you. I usually try to have one with me. I can start stories, continue ones from earlier, or plot out a new idea. You can doodle characters and freewrite around plot issues. Sure, it may be slow, and your wrist may hurt after a while, but it’s better than just wasting time playing Angry Birds. (I am terrible at Angry Birds.)

2) Writer’s Block
Have you ever been stuck? Days spent staring at a blank page with little to no words to show for it?

I find, when the story gets stuck, that a change of technique can help. Trying to write by hand can sometimes free up something in your head and get the story flowing. And then you can switch back to your general writing manners, and usually the block will stay gone, though you may have to handwrite a few days in a row to get there.

3) Stealthiness
For those of you who work in an office, have you ever had a period of time where you have nothing to do? You’re waiting on three people to get back to you, or your program needs to compile, or the lab said they’d get your stuff back to you on Friday.

Sure, you can hang out on Facebook, but sometimes it’s too obvious. Admittedly, depending on your work, you might be able to type in a word document without raising too many questions, but writing in a notebook adds another level of security. You look busy. It’s hard for other people to see exactly what you’re doing. And, at the end of the day, you can take the pages home with you, leaving no evidence, bwhahaha.

Any additional thoughts to add?

One response to this post.

  1. I use a iPad with a Note application that allows hand notes. Nice way to be in both paper and digital worlds.


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