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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

Funny you should ask! I do this pretty often, and am trying to do it more. There is something about writing by hand that makes me feel more connected to the process than banging away at a keyboard. For instance:

  • I am handwritten-letter pen pals with my friend Kam Oi Lee. In fact, it’s my turn to write to her. (The postcard I sent from the UK doesn’t count as a letter.) I do sometimes bang out letters to her on my manual typewriter, because that’s hilarious and fun. We still count it as handwritten, because my terrible dependence on the computer’s DELETE key is patently obvious in these missives.
  • I do Morning Pages by hand.
  • I keep my Writing Log by hand.
  • I do my outlining by hand.
  • I do some of my freewriting by hand, too.

I do occasionally get frustrated by the slowness of handwriting, and by my tendency to try to write too fast, and thus make mistakes and have to correct stuff. But I just remind myself to slow down, think it out, and then write. The worst for me is the Morning Pages, which I’m always trying to cram in before the real world intrudes (i.e., before my husband gets up).

I should go finish today’s Morning Pages, maybe.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. It is fantastic to know what you do. I share the feeling about the delete function.
    I started handwriting again when I noticed that besides doing it too fast – if I needed to write something – not even I, was understanding my hieroglyphs.
    I was literally lazy…

  2. I totally agree that writing things by hand is so different than typing things.
    These days … I hate the fact that my handwriting looks like sh*t because day-in, day-out I’m always in front of a computer.

    It’s too easy to write and edit your writing at the same time and losing the ‘flow’ of when you put pen to paper and just let your feelings pour out onto the pages.

    I’m bout to go buy those handwriting practice kiddie book and work on my handwriting again!
    Typing is good in a way but when you’re trying to write something that’s ‘something’, like you said, the delete button is just way too convenient.

    1. I have always liked my handwriting, though it’s suffered a lot from the advent of the computer. It’s a blend of printing and cursive, now, and is mostly legible unless I’m writing too quickly, and then it becomes hieroglyphics that even I can’t read afterward.

      Writing by hand, especially in ink, forces you to just keep going. And you get the benefit of seeing your edits, which illustrates how your thoughts developed.

      1. I don’t mind my handwriting so much but I guess I just don’t like the fact that it changes all the time …
        Might be a childhood thing …

        Event: I was called to the front of the class because my book report I handed in had 3 different handwritings and she accused me of cheating. I told her it’s my handwriting and she made me write all of them in front of the class. Her conclusion was that I was not to be trusted because I have more than one handwriting, therefore, I’m an unreliable person.

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