Pen in hand

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?

No. Why is simple. I have carpal tunnel related to writing not to typing.  I can’t write for long periods of time.

That being said, I do write by hand when I am stuck.  For some reason the process and parts of my brain accessed are much different when I write by hand.  I usually can move around a block when I use handwriting that I can’t when I use typewriters or keyboards.  It’s easier to channel the characters for me but then I learned how to write when it was either a very awkward electric typewriter or hand.  I used hand.   I hated setting those damn margins on a typewriter.

My best guess is mileage may vary depending on how you learned to “write” but I think there will always be a difference because of how we do the acts of typing and writing.  One doesn’t think as much when one writes as when one types.  The brain has to sort the letters even if we are typing words that handwriting doesn’t require.  When was the last time you thought about how to spell a word or even sounded it out when writing?  I don’t.  I do sound them out mentally when typing which allows the fingers to get where I want them to go but I am a touch typist.  The difference is in the way I deal with the words.  I sound out difference as I type it so I spell it right or close to right.  I don’t do the same thing when writing unless it is really an unfamiliar word.

So when I write by hand, I am more into the process and doing less “thinking” than when I type.  I often say I am much closer to “channeling” my characters than writing about my characters.  When I write by hand, you are seeing the “real” Mac, Will or Joe and not the two steps away typewritten story one.   It’s easier for me to climb inside their heads when I write by hand.

Each of us is different.  We each have to find what works for us.  I do know I would probably be writing more by hand if it wasn’t for the pain and the hand numbness that writing that way causes.

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3 thoughts on “Pen in hand

  1. I used to write by hand, but after problems with my neck and back started, it’s hard to do. When I did write by hand, the pen acted as a direct connection between my mind and the paper. The words flowed effortlessly. It took me a while to to learn to type out my story directly into the computer and I do miss writing things out. 😀

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