(The above interview makes note of longhand but also has some fantastic general advice)
I am not one of those authors who will write everything out by hand and then meticulously copy it into the computer. That being said, I am experiencing my own resurgence in using paper and pen instead of a strict computer model.
I’m finding that I’m less distracted when I’m plotting, creating character notes, and world notes by writing rather than immediately typing up my ideas.
Now while I may be using a computer first model for novels, for short stories, I have been writing a first and very rough copy by hand. Once those are done, I enter them into my computer and make a few adjustments as I’m typing.
I am finding that with physically handwriting the stories, the ideas have a little more clarity in the early draft than some of my projects that were exclusively done on the computer. As a result, I have been writing chapters of my novels in long hand when I find I need a little more momentum without the distractions that a computer offers.
All that said. Here’s a quick breakdown of a few of the benefits I’ve found:
Retention – I quite literally remember more of the details that I’ve written.
Brevity – The physical act of writing at a slower speed keeps the superfluous words to a minimum.
Clarity – When it takes more time to write a phrase down, it is easier to keep the target in sight.
Edits – It’s far easier to make notations in different colors on a manuscript than to go through all the steps to get a comment in on the computer. I also appreciate how it is ultimately always visible when you are looking at the physical document. This is also why the edits on my first draft are all in pen/pencil on a printed copy.
Attention – I am far less likely to browse the web if I have a piece of paper in front of me than a blank document on a screen. My attention is drawn to the paper, and while I may check my phone, I am still often more productive with the pen and paper method in the same amount of time as I would have spent on the computer.
I’m still working on my own process. As I find more tips, tricks, and recommendations I’ll be sure to pass them along!
For additional reading:
The Very Weird Handwriting of Very Famous Authors
This Is What A Handwritten Novel By Neil Gaiman Looks Like
(Both of the above links make me feel a whole lot better about my own handwriting style.)
8 Ways Writing Longhand Amps Your Muse