PDA

View Full Version : Pen on paper



morngnstar
01-20-2015, 08:12 PM
My wife got me a fancy writing notebook for Christmas and I just started using it. Normally I write in a digital format. I'm finding pen on paper kind of liberating. It frees me from the internal editor. At first I would scratch out what I didn't like, and write substitutions in the margin or in small print squeezed between the lines. Now I just let it all stand, and if I think of a better way to say something, I just append it to the end of my notes, out of order.

I'll have to type this all into the computer later, so I might as well wait until then to decide which phrases make the final cut and in what order. It frees me to concentrate on pure idea generation for a while.

Shadow_Ferret
01-20-2015, 09:20 PM
Welcome to "The Way of the Hand."

I returned to handwriting several years ago and haven't looked back. There are several reason why I prefer it (and why I was afraid to try it at first), but one of the most important is what you mention -- the editing while transcribing phase is very important to me. I started out before computers, so handwriting or typing the story always required several drafts of retyping what I had previously written/typed/edited and I found that my mind was most creative during that phase, coming up with additions or tangents I never thought of the first time through.

With computers, I lost that retyping phase. I mean, why would you? Its already onscreen and all I need to do is manipulate it. But keeping it onscreen froze the words. Sure, I could retype a sentence or paragraph, rearrange a scene, but ultimately it was stagnant. I never truly "killed my darlings." I needed that additional step where I'd transcribe the words and retype everything through the filter of my creative conscious. I think my writing is much more alive because of it.

Osulagh
01-20-2015, 09:31 PM
Some suggestions: I prefer using a top-bound notebook so your hand doesn't run into the side binding. You might want to look into a fountain pen or a good mechanical pencil (and play around with thicker/thinner grips for comfort).

Hapax Legomenon
01-20-2015, 10:01 PM
Welcome to the fold!

People write by hand for different reasons. It does give an additional editing step to your first computer draft. However my main reason is I think slowing down a bit and writing everything by hand makes my pacing much better.

ishtar'sgate
01-20-2015, 10:21 PM
I love doing my first draft by hand. I feel more connected to the work somehow. I also read that actually forming the letters by hand engages the creative part of your mind better. Don't know if it's true for everyone but it certainly is for me. Maybe it's because I'm left-handed.:D

CheG
01-20-2015, 10:25 PM
My people!! LOL! The majority of other writers I talk to are appalled I write longhand.

If you are looking for a good mechanical pencil the very best and most reasonably priced with the fat comfort grip I have come across are Sumo Grip pencils by Sakura. You'll find them online or at an art supply store most likely.

Gringa
01-20-2015, 10:27 PM
My first draft was handwritten. Wrote itself. No comparison.

LJD
01-20-2015, 10:30 PM
I'm the opposite. I did my first drafts by hand for years, typing my previous day's work up at the beginning of each writing session. And I actually found it liberating when I did my first draft on the computer. If decided I didn't like something, I didn't need to cross it all out; I could just delete it like it never existed. It made me less nervous about putting down words in the first place. I did a little more editing as I went along, but I can also type faster than I write, plus I didn't have to type everything up the next day. So if anything, it's faster for me.

LOTLOF
01-20-2015, 10:42 PM
I haven't written stories using a pen since early on in college. But if it works for you then it's the right way.

Jamesaritchie
01-20-2015, 11:57 PM
Traditionally, I wrote every first draft in longhand, with the exception of a few stories I wrote on a manual typewriter. I still write at least half of my first drafts this way. I write better when I do this, but old age and Arthur Itis is making me switch to the computer.

I much prefer writing in longhand. I also much prefer using a manual typewriter, for that matter, but as that great philosopher Clint Eastwood once said, "A man has to know his limitations."

My hands are rapidly reaching their limitation on gripping a pen or pencil.

I not only own about a hundred mechanical pencils, and about the same number of drafting pencils, which I prefer. These are just more costly mechanical pencils with a few changes in design. I have just as many pens, and all sorts of fancy fountain pens. Despite this, I think I kept the pencil business solvent for a lot of years. I buy a dozen gross of pencils at once. Ticonderoga number 2, mostly. And I grab every pencil I can here and there. On trips, I buy souvenir pencils at every stop. And I buy a dozen of every new make I see. I probably have two thousand pencils that I picked up randomly. I love them.

I have a storeroom dedicated to pencils, pens, various sizes of pencil lead, notebooks, fountain pen paper of every shape and size, etc. My wife calls it "Staples II".

I'm obsessed. Which reminds me. Can I borrow a pencil?

morngnstar
01-21-2015, 12:08 AM
I'm actually rewriting / expanding a chapter. I don't think I'll get to the point of anything I'd call a draft on paper. More like a pile of building blocks. To be a draft they'll have to be put together in some kind of order, preferably a coherent one, and for that I'll need to play around with the arrangement, sentence structure, word choice ... I'd never want to attempt that sort of trial and error on paper.

Gringa
01-21-2015, 05:46 AM
I not only own about a hundred mechanical pencils, and about the same number of drafting pencils, which I prefer. These are just more costly mechanical pencils with a few changes in design. I have just as many pens, and all sorts of fancy fountain pens. Despite this, I think I kept the pencil business solvent for a lot of years. I buy a dozen gross of pencils at once. Ticonderoga number 2, mostly. And I grab every pencil I can here and there. On trips, I buy souvenir pencils at every stop. And I buy a dozen of every new make I see. I probably have two thousand pencils that I picked up randomly. I love them.

I have a storeroom dedicated to pencils, pens, various sizes of pencil lead, notebooks, fountain pen paper of every shape and size, etc. My wife calls it "Staples II".

I'm obsessed. Which reminds me. Can I borrow a pencil?

I see the beginning of a short story......

DancingMaenid
01-21-2015, 06:05 AM
I'm the opposite. I did my first drafts by hand for years, typing my previous day's work up at the beginning of each writing session. And I actually found it liberating when I did my first draft on the computer. If decided I didn't like something, I didn't need to cross it all out; I could just delete it like it never existed. It made me less nervous about putting down words in the first place. I did a little more editing as I went along, but I can also type faster than I write, plus I didn't have to type everything up the next day. So if anything, it's faster for me.

I'm the same way. I love pretty notebooks and nice pens, but the act of writing by hand just doesn't work as well for me as writing digitally. I'm a lot more restrained, and when it comes to nice writing materials, in particular, I feel like I'm ruining them with crossed-out paragraphs and all sorts of other messes. I'm also the type who needs to be able to edit as I go.

I wish I was the type who could write well by hand, and I'm sure if I lived a hundred or two hundred years ago, I'd make do with what I had available. But I like my computer.

LJD
01-21-2015, 05:34 PM
I'm the same way. I love pretty notebooks and nice pens, but the act of writing by hand just doesn't work as well for me as writing digitally. I'm a lot more restrained, and when it comes to nice writing materials, in particular, I feel like I'm ruining them with crossed-out paragraphs and all sorts of other messes. I'm also the type who needs to be able to edit as I go.

I wish I was the type who could write well by hand, and I'm sure if I lived a hundred or two hundred years ago, I'd make do with what I had available. But I like my computer.

When I was starting out, I remember someone suggesting you shouldn't use pretty notebooks because it would put too much pressure on you. I just used regular spiral notebooks. I do think it might have been beneficial for me to write by hand at the beginning, though. The perfectionist in me might have done far too much editing, preventing me from making progress, if I'd written on the computer. But I'm happy with doing it all on the computer now. I always hated the typing-it-up part after writing something by hand. Some people edit as they do it and find that works well. I would do a little editing, but usually I just typed as fast as possible, trying to get it over with.

Shadow_Ferret
01-21-2015, 08:34 PM
I prefer those composition notebooks you see at the back-to-school sales each year. The ones which had a black speckled cover with some sort of black tape as binding (now they come in an assortment of colors). I'll buy about 10 each year when I find them on sale for fifty cents or less.

Jamesaritchie
01-21-2015, 09:21 PM
I prefer those composition notebooks you see at the back-to-school sales each year. The ones which had a black speckled cover with some sort of black tape as binding (now they come in an assortment of colors). I'll buy about 10 each year when I find them on sale for fifty cents or less.

I have to have a notebook, journal, or whatever, that will open and lay flat without damage Otherwise, it's a two hand writing task, and I hate that.

Jamesaritchie
01-21-2015, 09:21 PM
I see the beginning of a short story......

I'm afraid I see it, too.

Melanii
01-21-2015, 09:22 PM
I love writing things longhand, but I haven't done so with a draft for a long time. THOUGH, most of my serious stories were done longhand back in 2007-2008, and only recently did I have another story with the same length. Though it was done digitally.

So...

After knowing to start my story over again (for the 4th time!), I now struggle with deciding if I want to handwrite my first draft or not.

The pros are: no internet distractions, no battery, no formatting, and slightly more portable.

The cons are: slow writing, wrist pain (strange, since I draw a lot, but it still hurts), running out of paper, and no backspace/ctrl+z.

Emermouse
01-22-2015, 06:33 AM
I have a journal where I handwrite, y'know, personal stuff that probably won't be read until I'm dead. But when it comes to serious writing that I intend to get published, I'm all about the laptop. I'm constantly revising in my head as I write and at least with a laptop, there's a chance that my hands might be able to keep up with my brain. Granted, it's a pretty slim chance but still.

C.bronco
01-22-2015, 06:39 AM
I only write poetry on lined paper with a black Bic.:)
I wrote Capon Frank with a pen on anything I could find, but used the computer for The Haven (YA novel).


i don't mind fiction on the computer, but can't do poetry that way.

Becky Black
01-22-2015, 03:06 PM
I keep the fanciest notebooks for my journal and use cheaper spiral bound ones for just general notes. I love the Oxford notebooks with the 90gsm Optik paper.

There are a few things I like to do longhand:

Write in my journal - which will sometimes be a pretty one and sometimes a "serious business" plain black cover one.
Brainstorming.
First draft of a synopsis.
First draft of short things like blog posts,
First draft of a blurb.
Sometimes I do most of my planning notes longhand, other times I type them. Depends how I feel!

I wouldn't do the draft of a novel or even a short story longhand though. My writing is pretty bad. It would be a real pain in the arse trying to transcribe it.

I'm in one of my fountain pen phases at the moment, swapping between about four of them. The two most reliable ones are a cheap-ass Parker of the type you buy for a teen as their first fountain pen, and an old Parker from the early 1990s. Other more expensive and newer pens have come and gone, but those two always work. Parker Pens - the best. One day I'll treat myself to a Duofold.

Old Hack
01-22-2015, 03:49 PM
I write fiction on paper, and I write non-fiction direct to my laptop. I don't know why there's that difference, but there you go. I use digital pens whenever I can, as it reduces typing time: but when I write in notebooks I use big A4 spiral-bound ones which lie flat on the table, and I often only write on one side of each page. Then when I'm done, and I read it through, I make notes on the blank pages facing the work, and add bits there, and all sorts. It's very useful to have so much space for notes: it makes it very easy to remember what you want to. I love it.

Jamesaritchie
01-22-2015, 06:23 PM
I keep the fanciest notebooks for my journal and use cheaper spiral bound ones for just general notes. I love the Oxford notebooks with the 90gsm Optik paper.

There are a few things I like to do longhand:

Write in my journal - which will sometimes be a pretty one and sometimes a "serious business" plain black cover one.
Brainstorming.
First draft of a synopsis.
First draft of short things like blog posts,
First draft of a blurb.
Sometimes I do most of my planning notes longhand, other times I type them. Depends how I feel!

I wouldn't do the draft of a novel or even a short story longhand though. My writing is pretty bad. It would be a real pain in the arse trying to transcribe it.

I'm in one of my fountain pen phases at the moment, swapping between about four of them. The two most reliable ones are a cheap-ass Parker of the type you buy for a teen as their first fountain pen, and an old Parker from the early 1990s. Other more expensive and newer pens have come and gone, but those two always work. Parker Pens - the best. One day I'll treat myself to a Duofold.

I pay far more for my journals that any reasonable person would. Far more. But I go pretty cheap for writing fiction.

As for fountain pens, I love them, but when I hear "old Parker", I thinking several decades older than you do. I have trouble picking a favorite fountain pen. I have several I love, but right now my favorite, one that never, ever stops working, and that won't roll away when I put it down, is the Conklin, the same kind Mark Twain used. I have one from that time period that still works, and I have a couple of new ones that are just as reliable, and not overly expensive. Actually pretty darned cheap cheap for a good fountain pen. I have pens that cost three times as much, but that aren't nearly as reliable. http://www.conklinpens.com/mark_twain_limited_edition_page.html

Shadow_Ferret
01-22-2015, 06:35 PM
I watch eBay for fountain pens. When I first got the itch, I was buying all sorts of cheap Chinese pens. They looked so nice. But then when I went to use them, they either were too scratchy, or the ink didn't flow consistently. I have two go-to pens. An old Estabrook from the 50s. It was either my mom's or one I used in grade school (they actually taught us handwriting with fountain pens). I had to clean it up and replace the bladder, but now it works great. The other is a Parker 45 Flighted with a gold nib. Writes like a dream.

Pkmatrix
01-22-2015, 06:49 PM
I'd like to use pen-and-paper more but (and maybe I'm showing my age a bit here), it's just so excruciatingly slow to me. My typing isn't fast enough to keep up with my thought processes, so writing by hand often feels like I've slowed myself to a snail's crawl. It can be fun, sure, and I'd love to do it more, but I can really only do it for short pieces...I could never write anything more than a few pages long that way before getting frustrated. I grew up with computers and have been an avid net surfer for half my life, I'm just too used to the faster-paced nature of digital word processing. ^_^()

Jamesaritchie
01-22-2015, 08:55 PM
I'd like to use pen-and-paper more but (and maybe I'm showing my age a bit here), it's just so excruciatingly slow to me. My typing isn't fast enough to keep up with my thought processes, so writing by hand often feels like I've slowed myself to a snail's crawl. It can be fun, sure, and I'd love to do it more, but I can really only do it for short pieces...I could never write anything more than a few pages long that way before getting frustrated. I grew up with computers and have been an avid net surfer for half my life, I'm just too used to the faster-paced nature of digital word processing. ^_^()

That slowness is a big part of why I love writing by hand. I constantly read that this writer or that loves using a computer because it lets them write as fast as they think. I believe writing as fast as yu think is why so many manuscripts suck.

The digital world has not increased the speed of the human brain, or the quality of manuscripts. Just the opposite.

To me, fast is not how many words I write, it's how well I write. With a computer, it's usually the first thought that gets written. With longhand, it's usually my second, third, or fourth thought that gets written. A manual typewriter is almost as good, at least if you believe science, because both have the same effect on writing, on which part of the brain gets activated, depending partly on speed.

I can't say I grew up with computers, but I used my first in 1979, so I'm pretty used to the digital world, as well, but I write quality better by writing it slower. Maybe my brain is faulty, but my first thought is seldom the best thought, and I think this is the weakness of word processors and keyboard.

This, and the belief that no matter how bad it is, you can easily rewrite it later.

Anyway, I'm far more prolific writing slow than writing fast because the slow writing goes from first word to submittable version faster, even though I don't write nearly as many words per minute as those who use a word processor, and keep up with their thoughts.

chompers
01-22-2015, 08:59 PM
I agree. My prose is definitely better when I hand write, because it's a slower process. My hands keep better pace with my brain when I hand write. I'm a fast typer and my brain doesn't keep up when it's something like writing that requires analytical thinking.