I’ve been thinking about how I write. Not my style, but the physical action of writing.
For myself, I make sure that I write at least one page (front and back) in longhand daily. There’s something truly breathtaking to see your words on a sheet of paper in crisp, blue ink. I need to do it. My hands tend to hurt after typing for long periods of time (back in March, I could barely hold a pen due to incessant blogging); longhand is the only thing that makes my hand feel better.
Will I ever write an entire first draft longhand? I’m not sure. My favorite writer, Patrick O’Brian, did. Scores of writers pre-typewriters did (probably all except poor blind Milton who narrated everything).
This isn’t to say that my handwriting is by any means decent. It isn’t. Imagine a chicken’s claw dipped in ink; this chicken has had a few caligraphy lessons and attempts to mimick the hobbit alphabet mixed with standard cursive. There you go.
Cursive is something I struggled with. People say that those children who draw all the time will end up with beautiful penmanship because they know how to hold a pencil; not true. I’m a pretty good artist, by no means Raphael, but good enough to minor in Graphic Design (and yes, I draw everything by hand). Despite my artistic leanings, my handwriting sinks to new lows every year; it is better than my days as a third grader when my teacher kept me in from recess to work on my L’s and Q’s.
There is a beauty in the physically written word that the word processor lacks. While words can appear on the screen quicker, changes can be made, and paper isn’t “wasted,” something is missing. I know people who are only a few years younger than I who do not know how to write in cursive.
Can you imagine only receiving notes from loved ones that are typed and sent across a computer screen? A love email does not have the same weight as a handwritten note, even if the words are the same. Handwriting is personal, it displays time and care. Typing? It’s quick and gets the point across.
That is to say, I do not hate typing. I’m quite proficient in it; I type quicker than I write in longhand. But when writing fiction, I feel as though I don’t put as much effort into it as when I write longhand. See my NaNoWriMo draft from last year (so much fun producing such drivel).