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7 Reasons to Consider Handwriting First-Drafts
This week, I’ve stumbled upon another encouraging little trick in finishing my work that I’d forgotten from long ago: the beauty of handwriting.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “Handwriting is slower…how does that help you to finish a book more quickly?”
I’ll tell you why:
1. Handwriting is more encouraging. When I type things into a computer, it goes “into the vortex”. It’s mightily discouraging to finish a day’s work and have nothing to show for it. When I write on paper, or in a journal, I can look down and say, “THAT is what I accomplished today. THIS much tree.” It’s a good feeling.
2. Handwriting feels more personal. You might not have saved that e-mail from your grandmother who passed away – but I bet you saved her letter. Why? Because there’s something more personal about putting something on paper. Touching and scratching and etching on the work you do, I have to believe, adds a more personal touch.
3. Handwriting is closer to the speed of thought. I can type faster than I can think, which often leaves me staring at a blank cursor. But when I write on paper, I feel like I could go on forever. It’s a more fluid process, with less time to feel like I’m doing nothing.
4. Handwriting makes you feel like a writer. Okay, I admit this is cheap. But come on – we need all the encouragement we can get, right? To be honest, sitting down with pen in hand just makes me feel like a writer. It’s part of overcoming the barrier to believing it.
5. Handwriting is conducive to first-drafts. If the goal of a first-draft is to ‘get it all on paper’, no matter how good, bad or ugly – then sitting at a computer is the mortal enemy of first drafts. That delete button is all-too-tempting to those of us who love to craft our words perfectly. Either discipline yourself not to touch it, or write on paper.
6. Handwriting makes for careful words. When you write something on paper, no word is left behind. On a keyboard, it’s easier to be careless.
7. Handwriting is accessible. There are some places I feel more comfortable using a laptop – an airplane terminal, or a desk – but there are other places I feel more comfortable writing on paper. Before I go to bed, for example, I’d rather not sit up, ruin my back and glare at a screen for 45 minutes. Writing on paper calms me down, and is a nice way to add writing time to my busy schedule.