A Defense of Writing Longhand
by Patrick E. McLean
Is technology really my friend? Or is it just pretending to be my friend so it can date my sister?
I like technology. A lot. But I’m not too sure how technology feels about me. It may be my faithful friend and boon companion — then again, it may just be pretending to be my friend so it can date my sister. Especially when it comes to writing.
I’m writing a book. And for all the romance and immensity that phrase can contain, writing a book is also simply a production process. I am in the process of assembling 75,000 to 100,000 words. And, after writing 50,000 of them, I’ve become convinced that the first draft is the hardest part. Hemingway famously said that the first draft of everything is shit. For what it’s worth, I agree. So, my question becomes: What’s the easiest way to get through the hardest part?
And to my surprise, the easiest way turns out to be writing longhand. Not printing, mind you, but composing with a long, flowing, and delightfully irregular script that fills the page like a river of words. I sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and a thousand words roll out in a flash. And not only does it often take less time than typing, I think I write better longhand. Continue reading