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Thread: Yep; this is a new forum

  1. #1
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Yep; this is a new forum

    I've noticed a lot of members enthusing about writing by hand, about using typewriters, about a love of paper, notebooks, journals and stationary. And I've noticed that a lot of us use journals to track our lives, to support our planning and writing, to jump start NaNoWriMo, or as bullet journals.

    I'm finding, personally, that I use paper and pens and pencils as ancillary tools for my digital writing. There's always paper at hand whether I'm using my laptop or my iPad. I especially rely on paper and fountain pen for drafts, and for writing postcards and letters.

    So here's a place to discuss analog tools, the pencils, pens, fountain pens, and paper we love, and how we use them in our lives and our writing.

    What do you use? How do you use it?

  2. #2
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    I'm afraid, as an eighty-year-old I am one of those people who used a pen for the greater part of my life then found - with the advent of computers and e-mail and goodness knows what else - there no longer seemed to be any need to use one, except for Christmas and Birthday cards. I'm sure some folk don't even sign these!

    I wrote letters home to my mum and dad in the late nineteen-sixties (on Basildon Bond, or Air Mail letters- the old folding type) while I was abroad. Prior to that, my twin sister wrote letters home from Australia, to where she had emigrated as a Nurse.

    My family deed box has letters going back to the mid 1800's- one penned by an ancestor aboard an Australia bound ship and passed to another vessel somewhere enroute for delivery back to the UK. I have another hand-written letter from a descendant who ended up in the gold mines in Australia.

    I wonder what written memories future families will have in their Deed Boxes. Precious little, I suspect, letter writing having been replaced by e-mails, instant photos and videos.

    I do remember penning Christmas thank-you letters as a small boy -a Conway Stuart fountain pen, and drops of ink all over the place as I waved it around.

    As a youngster, when I first joined a bank as a teenager, I loved to use a dip-in pen and write copperplate style, with lovely sweeping down strokes and gentle upswings. That lasted into the nineteen-sixties at least - then computers took over.

    Nowadays? I can't remember the last newsy handwritten letter I received or the last one I penned. I think it was a short bereavement letter.

    Regretfully, I now handwrite little beyond greetings cards. But I do love to use parchment paper when I print a small note to anyone. Love the crisp, crinkly feel of it.

    My grandchildren write me occasional thank-you letters but I wonder if that, too, will stop when they become familiar with e-mail and stuff.

    Look forward to seeing how many folk here still use dip-in or fountain pen for drafting.

    All my writing and critiquing etc., is done on the PC, but I am sure it must be very satisfying to see a page of one's own neat handwritten script.
    Last edited by Bufty; 11-03-2017 at 08:10 PM.
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  3. #3
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    I have terrible handwriting; my cursive is a poster child text-book example of typical dyslexic handwriting.

    But I've found that using a fountain pen for drafting and planning gives my hands a break from the keyboard (carpal tunnel) and sometimes helps me think. (I need all the help I can get wrt to thinking . . . ).

    I do send a lot of postcards; PM me if you want a postcard.

    And I'm looking forward to sending holiday cards this year for Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice and joie de vivre; now picking the inks to use. There are so many reds and greens, and I'm contemplating glitter pens, even, or fountain pen ink with a shimmer effect (from glitter).

  4. #4
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    I'm afraid, as an eighty-year-old I am one of those people who used a pen for the greater part of my life then found - with the advent of computers and e-mail and goodness knows what else - there no longer seemed to be any need to use one, except for Christmas and Birthday cards. I'm sure some folk don't even sign these!
    In the U.S. people born after c. 1920 or so typically learned to write cursive via something called The Palmer Method; I'm contemplating buying a book of letter models and exercises to try to improve mine. I had to take paleography and choose to take calligraphy classes to make manuscript studies a bit easier, so I figure I could conceivably improve my handwriting.

    I mostly print if I expect anyone else to be able to read it, but drafts for my eyes only are often longhand/cursive, and yes, using a fountain pen.

  5. #5
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I no longer write cursive, but my pen handwriting is a neat italic print that I trained into during my teens. With a uniform tip pen it's readable and clean. With an ink calligraphy nib, it dresses up nicely. I usually get volunteered to 'write pretty' for work.

    I still do *a lot* of paper drafts, sketches, lists, and the like. I've been worldbuilding in fiction for 34 years, and doing art for nearly as long. So I have mass quantities of paper to digitize and archive.

    I love journals (I'm a book artist) but I don't tend to do 'real work' in them.

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  6. #6
    figuring it all out Ms.Pencila's Avatar
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    I like pretty handwriting, (or rather, just indulging in making big loops in cursive), but for some reason don't feel like writing by hand helps me creatively. (I suspsect that the problem lies in my inclination to hesitate over word choices when I'm writing slower-- typing doesn't eliminate that, but it does seem to help).

    That said, I have something in between a true analog tool and a computer: a word processor. It's a relatively simple creature, like a calculator/keyboard that holds 8 files, and I find its streamlined focus (no internet, and a pretty limited thesaurus) very helpful for writing.
    "Here dies another day during which I have had eyes, ears, hands and the great world around me; and with tomorrow begins another. Why am I allowed two?" -G.K. Chesterton

  7. #7
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    In the U.S. people born after c. 1920 or so typically learned to write cursive via something called The Palmer Method;
    Is that the same as D'nealian? That's the method we were taught. (basically you learn to make the cursive letters, but without connecting them at first)

    My handwriting is, and always has been, microscopic and atrociously formed. I used to get notes on my papers in school begging me to write larger and more legibly, but that was asking a lot when our class consisted of two full-length papers per day, due at the end of the class period.

    I still write with pen and paper, sometimes longhand, but I've also got my own sort of short-hand that I'm not sure anyone else would be able to parse. It's a great way to unstick a stuck thought by engaging a different set of skills and manual dexterity.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    In the U.S. people born after c. 1920 or so typically learned to write cursive via something called The Palmer Method; I'm contemplating buying a book of letter models and exercises to try to improve mine. I had to take paleography and choose to take calligraphy classes to make manuscript studies a bit easier, so I figure I could conceivably improve my handwriting.

    I mostly print if I expect anyone else to be able to read it, but drafts for my eyes only are often longhand/cursive, and yes, using a fountain pen.
    I have a good book for that; modern. It's discussed at FPN but I donít recall the title. I made an effort to learn to write well after seeing a supervisorís illegible scrawl.

  9. #9
    pretending to be awake onesecondglance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    I wonder what written memories future families will have in their Deed Boxes. Precious little, I suspect, letter writing having been replaced by e-mails, instant photos and videos.
    Born in the 80s here: I don't even know what a deed box is... I mean, I can take a guess, but nope.
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  10. #10
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    Is that the same as D'nealian? That's the method we were taught. (basically you learn to make the cursive letters, but without connecting them at first)
    D'nealian is descended from The Palmer Method (which was itself descended from and a response to ornate Spencerian script).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    I still write with pen and paper, sometimes longhand, but I've also got my own sort of short-hand that I'm not sure anyone else would be able to parse. It's a great way to unstick a stuck thought by engaging a different set of skills and manual dexterity.
    I find that to be true as well; I don't know if it's because, while I've been using computers since I was a teen, I learned to compose with pen or pencil and paper, or if, as some research suggests, it's because of various complex inter relationships between handwriting and neurology.

  11. #11
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    My handwriting is notoriously awful. I used to be able to write neatly when I tried, but that seems to have disappeared.

    But I do carry a cheap pocket notebook in which I brainstorm. And I've collected journals for decades. I almost never use them anymore, but I can't resist a pretty or unusual one. (Got an Alice in Wonderland-themed Moleskine a couple of weeks ago.)

    I have friends heavily into fountain pens, but I find I prefer gel pens or decent ball points (which are increasingly hard to find - I can't stand the clumping and skipping some of them do).

    (Not born in the 80s, but also not familiar with the term "deed box" - is this essentially a firebox?)
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  12. #12
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizmonster View Post
    My handwriting is notoriously awful. I used to be able to write neatly when I tried, but that seems to have disappeared.

    But I do carry a cheap pocket notebook in which I brainstorm. And I've collected journals for decades. I almost never use them anymore, but I can't resist a pretty or unusual one. (Got an Alice in Wonderland-themed Moleskine a couple of weeks ago.)

    I have friends heavily into fountain pens, but I find I prefer gel pens or decent ball points (which are increasingly hard to find - I can't stand the clumping and skipping some of them do).

    (Not born in the 80s, but also not familiar with the term "deed box" - is this essentially a firebox?)
    Just a big black metal box with a built-in lock. I guess the name comes from before the time of Safe Custody in banks and folks kept important documents and deeds at home in the Deed Box. Hid it up the chimney or under the floor boards or whatever. They come in all sizes. Ours also holds birth, death and marriage certificates going wa-a-a-ay back.

    I write very neatly by the way- so did my dad- taught me how to hold a pen so you could write for ever with no strain.
    Last edited by Bufty; 11-03-2017 at 09:45 PM.
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  13. #13
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizmonster View Post
    (Not born in the 80s, but also not familiar with the term "deed box" - is this essentially a firebox?)
    It's UK usage; a deed box was originally a lockable box (in the US called a "strong box" or "lock box") that was often beautiful (people collect the antique ones) but used to store deeds or titles and other important papers, and today, yeah, roughly equivalent to a firebox.

  14. #14
    The Tripinnate Kitkitdizzi's Avatar
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    I'm a biologist and spend much of my summer living out of a hammock and backpack. I carry a Moleskin notebook and use mechanical pencils because ink smears when it gets wet (I tried Rite in the Rain pens, but I have a bad habit of losing pens and pencils). I find I write faster in a notebook than on the computer. On the computer, I tend to stare at the screen thinking what would be the best way to write what I want to say. Takes forever, though sources have said I write a very clean first draft. On paper, I just get words down, even writing the same idea multiple ways. Then when I transfer it to the computer, I'm already editing, so yay! It feels productive too, since I get a lot of words on the computer very fast (even if those words took me four months to get in the backcountry).

    The problem, my handwriting is atrocious. I can only print, and when I get writing fast enough it becomes a strange cursive/print hybrid. I'm doing the notebook transfer now, and there's some parts where I'm squinting and going, "huh?". I never wrote or read cursive well, even when I had to learn it and write it, and as soon as high school came and I was no longer required to use it I stopped. I remember when I took the GRE test for graduate school there was a paragraph that I had to write in cursive (I think it was something about agreeing to not cheat and I was who I said I am. Not really sure anymore). I had a moment of panic, because I couldn't remember how to do it. I hope no one actually reads those, because mine was completely illegible. Heck, my signature isn't even in cursive.
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  15. #15
    Seashell Seller Layla Nahar's Avatar
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    I have terrible handwriting. It's part of why I do my initial work by hand for the most part - unless I concentrate, I can look at the page without actually reading it.

    I really value beautiful handwriting, and for a few sentences I can form letters of consistent size, with actual circles & such like, but even then, compared to what some people just do all the time it's not actually beautiful.

    I write with (mechanical) pencil. If I change my mind about something, I'll erase. Makes it a bit easier to see what the flow is if I decide to actually read the text.

    When I get to putting the text in a digital document (d-doc ) I often just write a new version of the story.
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  16. #16
    All about that action, boss. ElaineA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitkitdizzi View Post
    when I get writing fast enough it becomes a strange cursive/print hybrid.
    I do the same. My handwriting is decent enough to read, but I've concocted this hybrid--and back-leaning--writing, I *think* because it's speedier. I know it's faster than formal cursive, and writing cursive leaning to the right feels awkward to my hand (even though I'm a righty). The only consistent-looking writing I do is my signature. I still hand write birthday cards for friends and family, and include a handwritten short-something in my Holiday cards, even though it's not lovely-looking. I'm always impressed by people who have perfect handwriting.

    My office, kitchen, car and bedroom are littered with paper resources (including a stash of napkins in the car console for when all the notebooks have all disappeared inside.) I like to brainstorm on paper because in my mind it's less permanent. I can test things without committing to them. (Or some brain-wiring lie I tell myself.) I also do a lot of scribbling of ideas and then never look at the pages again, almost like a kind of external-assist filing process for my less-and-less nimble brain. But for writing an actual manuscript by hand? Those days are over. I love the ease of computer deleting too much to ever go back to erasers, pen scratch-outs, or White Out. And my typing fingers keep up with my brain faster and prevent me from overthinking every word and punctuation mark (until later).

    Fun thread, btw! It's so interesting to get a peek at other peoples' tools and processes.


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  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Raindrop's Avatar
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    Oh yes, ElaineA, it's a great thread!

    I have a pile of notebooks. I write with a fountain pen most of the time, because I like how it glides on the page. I'm a sucker for good quality paper, too. I've also switched from a digital diary to a Filofax, after finding an unused, beautiful leather (unbranded) Filo for £2 in a charity shop. I use DodoPad refills. A bit pricey, but the paper is great and the design is quirky. It's my indulgence.

    After a year of using an analog diary, I can say it works a lot better for me than digital ones. I suppose it has something to do with the act of writing on the page; that, or how easy it is to see what's going on in my week. I doubt I'll switch back.

  18. #18
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
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    Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    I write most of my thank you and sympathy cards by hand in cursive. My handwriting's not what it used to be, but is still readable.

    I also write handwritten newsy letters to my mother who is suffering vascular dementia and can no longer use a computer, but she can still read.

    I'm in the US and do know what a deed box is. They weren't all metal. My husband has one that was sent around the Horn by ship while his however-many-great grandparents took the route across the prairies into Oregon. By the time we got it, it contained a some stock certificates for company no longer in stock and a "receipt book" in the old-fashioned sense of a recipe and home remedy book.

    Handwriting is useful writing out quick outlines of chapters and also general writing when the power's out.

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  19. #19
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    I'm a technical instructor, and often times, when I see blank stares coming at me looking as though I have eight heads, I'll take a dry erase marker to a white board and draw things out with labels to the respective pieces of network Equipment so people can get a better idea of what it is I am trying to explain.

    For the past two years, the feedback I have been getting is that people prefer it when I use the white board over the PowerPoint (I hate powerpoints as a general rule - too many professors use them as a crutch and avoid actively teaching imho)

    As a result, my writing (and drawing!) skills have actually improved in recent years. If I had to pick up my own penmanship, if Lisa was the poster child of bad penmanship as a kid, then I was her red-headed step brother. I hate cursive and can't even read my own even hours later. I print, and it's picture perfect. But if I switch to cursive, I am horrible.

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  20. #20
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    I still use ball point pens. Love them. I write notes on paper and still use and love my corded landline house phone. That will be pried from my cold dead hand. I only use a cellphone when my landline goes down or I need to getr a text code to print coupons.
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  21. #21
    Delerium ex Ennui Xelebes's Avatar
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    I'm an accountant by trade so when I write, it is mostly mapping items to other items or otherwise jotting down notes from while I am talking on the phone. My co-workers have said that I write like a computer. Dexterity is an issue and hand-writing is the only thing that my strong hand can do faster than my weak hand. Typically that is a sign of epileptic seizures but. . . nothing on the EEG. I do have a preference for pens. While I have used fountain pens and have honed my craft on them, I still strongly prefer micropoint pens.

  22. #22
    nutruring tomorrows criminals today PorterStarrByrd's Avatar
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    Post-its and a whiteboard on the wall behind me, a whole lot more convenient than searching for where I recorded a thought.
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  23. #23
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xelebes View Post
    I'm an accountant by trade so when I write, it is mostly mapping items to other items or otherwise jotting down notes from while I am talking on the phone. My co-workers have said that I write like a computer. Dexterity is an issue and hand-writing is the only thing that my strong hand can do faster than my weak hand. Typically that is a sign of epileptic seizures but. . . nothing on the EEG. I do have a preference for pens. While I have used fountain pens and have honed my craft on them, I still strongly prefer micropoint pens.
    I love micropoint pens for annotating books; I do this a lot to make teaching easier.

    Back in the day, a very fine nibbed fountain pen was called a needle or accountant's nib.

  24. #24
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PorterStarrByrd View Post
    Post-its and a whiteboard on the wall behind me, a whole lot more convenient than searching for where I recorded a thought.
    I know a bunch of writers who use post-its to storyboard their writing. Some color code, some don't.

    Lots of novelists still use index cards too; it can help to be able to move the card or post-it and see the story arc.

  25. #25
    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Ooh! What a great forum!



    Whiteboard for plotting, because I need a big space to create mind maps.

    Legal pads for working out what I have to do next.

    Hardback notebooks in the early stages of writing: spiral bound for fiction, perfect bound for non-fiction. They are colour-coded, of course.

    Moleskine notebooks for travelling, because they're light and durable.

    Field Notes for bird-watching.


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