Inky Breadcrumbs and the Forgotten Magic of Writing by Hand

I stumbled across this post during a late night spurt of boredom spent browsing what was new in the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress. It’s a lovely little look at the ways we writers work our magic and how we tend to overlook our most important tools in the modern era of today.
I actually felt this resonate with me a bit, and reminds me of how one of my own novels started out. We were going to Tofino for a few days during the summer about a year ago (if my memory actually serves me this time) and I had this familiar niggling feeling in the back of my mind that is a story in the works just begging, screaming to be written. The thing is, I’d decided that I didn’t want to bring my laptop with me for the trip so I could enjoy it properly. Fortunately, my brother and I had purchased a set of three blank notebooks a few months before. And so I decided to write the story by hand. I actually wrote quite a bit in the notebook before I finally had to transfer it to the computer in order to collaborate with my friends (they’d agreed to help me with minor editing and to make a few characters).
I definitely would not recommend writing a novel by hand, or if you do, at least do it double-spaced. It’s very difficult to go back and make major revisions on full pages.
There is a certain beauty to a page full of hand-written notes, I find. I keep a notebook now to collect my little most random thoughts and ideas, hopes for the future, and concepts for new stories or essential informations to add to any of my current stories-in-progress.
Anyway, take a look at what this person has to say. I can almost guarantee you’ll start thinking about your hands a little differently afterwards.

EJB Writing Studio

Photo by Erin J. Bernard Photo by Erin J. Bernard

Hey, writer! When was the last time you took a good look at your own hands? I mean, a really, really good long look?

Sure, they’re fluttering in and out of the periphery of vision over the course of any average day, assisting in the picking up and setting down of life’s dull and delightful objects. But, most often, their task feels secondary – to hold up for inspection the things you’ve deemed far more fascinating: smartphones, babies, books, burritos.

There’s little incentive to notice them. And this strikes me as odd. So do it now. Have a good, long gander. What do you see? Look carefully: your hands are miraculous, surprising, ordinary, and, for my money, entirely underappreciated.

You’re in good retroactive company. I’m first writing this by hand, in fact, down here in Mexico, though by the time it reaches its final destination…

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