It’s been a month since the start of the Great Longhand Experiment.
I’ve enjoyed writing first drafts with a pencil. So much so that I now prefer it to composing on a computer.*
There are two main reasons:
1) Writing by hand feels more personal, for whatever reason. This is reflected in the stories I’ve been working on. The last story I completed, in May, is typical of the new crop. Most of it is drawn directly from experience, though transmuted into a fantastic/metaphoric mode (what Rudy Rucker calls transrealism)**. When I’m typing, I find it hard to write about myself. And this is partly because:
2) My internal editor is a fucking Nazi swine. I’m not kidding. I copyedit for a living, so when I’m at the keyboard, he’s always on my case – Achtung! Halt! Das ist nicht korrekt, you pigdog! – which results in – Dummkopf! – a stop-start-stop rhythm. Having that Nazi swine permanently ensconced in my brainpan makes it doubleplusharder to get into a flow state while at the keyboard. Writing longhand silences the bastard.
So, yes – although repetitive fucking strain is a pain, having to cut down on keyboard time turned out to be a boon. Silver linings and all that.
*In fact, I wrote the rough draft of this blog post by hand.
**This is a mode that pleases me. The stories feel richer, deeper. I reckon that I’ll focus on this kind of essentially autobiographical material from now on, at least in the case of my short stories, rather than trying to Make Shit Up to market requirements. The latter kinds of stories are much easier to sell, but fuck it.***
***Sorry about all the footnotes. I’m currently reading Infinite Jest, y’see.