Writing in longhand….

April 18, 2007

Neil Gaiman has an interesting explanation of how he writes longhand in blank books, and provides several pictures of his current project, The Graveyard Book, with numbered pages and even drawings of little gravestones at the end of each chapter.

I remember reading in Writer’s Digest years ago how Robert Ludlum, he of the massively huge tomes, wrote his books in longhand on legal pads (!). I believe the author of Beach Music and The Great Santini, Pat Conroy, does this, too, and I know numerous other well-known author do the same.

This amazes me these days. I find myself almost unable to write for any extended period in longhand anymore. My brain runs too fast for my hand to keep up, and my handwriting, a mixture of printed words and half-cursive letters, rapidly become illegible. My hand cramps and, like a person on a diet focusing only on how hungry they are, I focus on how stiff my hand feels and how slowly I’m going. I become annoyed with the slow pace and my mistakes. I force myself to slow down and shake the stiffness from my hand, but it rarely works for more than a few minutes. Mostly I just get frustrated.

Another reason to be jealous of Neil Gaiman!

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