Many writers like to write their first draft by hand in a much loved notebook. Having always been a writer who types, I have never been able to relate the pen/pencil writers. Those I have spoken to said they like that it is too difficult to edit text as they write, so they don’t. As a result they have a much more free-flowing writing process, unhampered by the constant checking and changing that writing on a computer allows. Also they do their first very rigorous edit when transferring the story from their notebooks to the computer, giving them the opportunity to completely re-write sentences instead of being tempted to just move things around.
These seemed like valid reasons to me, so I decided to give it a go for last Sunday’s blog post. Having no pretty notebooks, I had to settle for a dog-eared pad. I started to write. I hated my first sentence and wanted to change it, but stuck to the ‘no edit’ mantra. I didn’t like the next sentence either and I realised that the whole blog was going in the wrong direction. At this point if I was on the computer I probably would have deleted the whole thing. On paper I pressed on.
Eventually I had a full post written (not that I had any idea of how long it was because there is no word-count on a pad). I disliked it very much, but went on with part two of the process; transcribing to the computer. Now while I rarely referred to what I handwrote, and what I typed bore little resemblance to the pad version, I will say the process of writing in one fluid sitting did help to focus my attention on what I really wanted to say. The typed blog came out quickly, and surprisingly required fewer edits than usual.
So would I write a novel this way? Not a chance! But I think I will plan my novels like this, as the free-flow writing was great. All I need to do now is find the perfect notepad…