I’ve been experimenting with writing short stories by hand.
However, I did type this post; no handwriting it beforehand. The pen and paper are reserved for writing new words of fiction.
Two tools are necessary for my experiment:
A notebook small enough to fit into a carry bag and that opens flat without strain. Kokuyo’s A5 notebook fits the bill and has soft plastic rings that make it a delight to write on even when balanced on my knee.
A roller ball pen. Pilot’s Frixon Ball gel pen writes smoothly on this notebook. (I am also a fan of Pentel’s Energel models fitted with a 0.5mm needle tip.)
I use these tools to write my first draft and then I type it up the same day or on some evening when I’ve had enough of creating new words for a while.
Now and again, as I’m transcribing the handwritten draft, I change words, edit or delete sentences, add new words. But most of the time I type it up direct and leave edits for when the digital version is completed.
The picture below is of a partial draft example for this post, handwritten on the twentieth of February. And underneath that is my edited and typed up version.
I’m also experimenting with timed writes. A timed write is where I write for a specific time without pausing, take a brief rest, and then do another one etc.
My basic timed write is seven minutes long.
I can handwrite about seventy-five words in seven minutes.
I know, I know.
That’s less than eleven words per minute. But that’s because I go at the speed necessary to handwrite each letter with the due care and attention my creative subconscious showed me in serving them up in the first place.
Another reason, perhaps the most important one for handwriting in this manner, is that I find the physical act of writing with pen and paper to be a meditative one.
Seven minutes means I can get writing done almost anywhere; no need to stay chained to a ‘writer’s room’.
There’s no great mystery to using pen and paper. I guess few do it these days but it’s what works for me and what I enjoy doing.
I leave typing and computers for editing, transforming, publishing, and all those good and necessary tasks.
Each to their own; your mileage may vary.
A5 - a number after my own heart
You’re just the right size and weight to carry around, to slip into and out of my bag unseen, to balance on my knee.
You remind me, even in landscape mode, not to run on too far, to take a breather, to begin a new line.
And your paper skin’s so smooth, so inviting; my ring and pinkie fingers bliss out at the touch.
But now this page’s end approaches and there’ll be no endless scrolling screen of doom for me.