Writing by Hand vs. Laptop and a Trick to Better Stories

This week I started writing my fiction longhand. I’ve always been a laptop guy, but my writing professor this semester recommended we all try writing with pen and paper.

Typing lets you go as fast as you want, lets you follow a train of thought without missing a beat. I always thought writing longhand was inferior because of this. If I think faster than I write, why ever abandon my trusty Mac?

Well, I gave it a shot, and I’m here to say that I’m gonna write longhand for the foreseeable future. It’s slower, sure, but it feels more deliberate. Something about physically writing out the letters and words makes the scene feel more real to me. I connect with the story more. On a laptop, I find it easy to get distracted online or become mentally checked out from the writing.

And my professor–Evelina Galang–suggested another cool trick that’s been working for me. She calls it “looping.” You write for five minutes, stop, pick your favorite line from what you’ve written, then start again. Repeat until you feel the momentum building in a scene you’re excited to pursue.

Today, I really wanted to find a definite direction in my new story. It gets to me when I feel myself avoiding the writing. But I took my notebook and headphones to Starbucks and really got into it. Even though the story’s still up in the air, I feel that writing longhand for an extended period of time helped me know my character better. I’m excited to keep chipping away at this story a day at a time.

If you’re a laptop lover, give longhand a shot and let me know how it goes.

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