31 Jan 2008
When I first moved to Olympia, I made the mistake of putting the charger for my laptop in storage, where it did me absolutely no good. As a result, I was forced to write with pencil and paper (gasp!). I have long thought that writing on paper was a good thing for me, but I actually felt guilty to not be using my computer to its fullest extent (the same reason that I refuse to use a paper day planner).
This approach has its obvious downsides (slow paced, blisters on fingers), but it also has significant advantages (beyond having an excuse to buy elaborate writing supplies . . . and portability, of course). The first one is that when you eventually enter it into the computer, you automatically do a rough edit, which is nice. The second advantage is much cooler, though. So cool, in fact, that it deserves its own paragraph.
As I was saying, the second reason is that writing with a pencil or pen forces you to slow down. This may sound like a bad thing (heck, I’ve already listed it as a disadvantage), but I think that writing too fast can be a bad thing too. When you write quickly, there is less time for your subconscious to work on the words before you put them on paper. I find that when I write in a journal or a notebook, my thoughts are at least a sentence or two ahead of what I’m actually writing. The result is that I find my first drafts to be more coherent than they otherwise were, in addition to having more of the twists and details that I usually add in on the second or third draft.
It really does feel odd to be saying this, as I have written everything primarily on the computer since middle school, but the fact is that it does work for me. So, if you are a writer, this is definitely worth a shot.