I am so weary of this winter and you are probably weary of me complaining about it. Sorry. We are in the midst of a major winter storm and will have 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) of fresh snow by noon tomorrow. This on top of the snow that has been piling up all winter. It is getting really hard to shovel the sidewalk when the piles of snow I have to shovel the sidewalk snow onto are nearly chest high. Granted, I am short, but I am not that short! At least I don’t have to fling the snow over my head, yet.
Yesterday I got home and sat down to blog and realized I hadn’t thought of anything to blog about. I stared at my computer screen for about ten minutes and no ideas came to mind so I gave up. I would have given up today too if I hadn’t come across an interesting article.
Booklist has a wonderful article with short short essays by writers who write their novels longhand and why. You all have probably figured out by now I have a fondness for writing by hand so you won’t be surprised over how much I loved this article.
It is interesting that author after author remarks how they like writing by hand because it forces them to slow down, to consider their words more carefully. Several also comment how writing longhand in a notebook removes all the distractions of writing on a computer. There is no temptation to check email, Twitter, news headlines. One writer mentions the “quietness of paper” and how intimate it is to write a novel in a notebook.
A number of writers note how sensual writing by hand is. Most of them mention their favorite kind of notebook and pens and pencils. A few talk a little about their methods like draft on verso, revisions and corrections on recto.
I find writers writing longhand and talking about it a fascinating topic. Thirty years ago most writers wrote by hand or on a typewriter and the few who wrote on a computer were unusual. These days it is assumed everyone writes on a computer and those who don’t are the odd ones. How times change. At least one writer (Joe Hill) thinks that when he writes by hand he produces a different piece of fiction than when he writes on a computer — shorter stories that move faster and with not as much ornament. I wonder if any of the other writers feel that way? I’d be really interested to hear more about that.