Writing Advice: Handwriting

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For the first time, I’m writing about some advice that I wouldn’t necessarily take myself. But I think this is an important piece of advice that has some merit. In our of technology, it’s only natural that writing will combine with that technology. We use the internet to do research for stories, we use story plotting/planning software, and we even use the internet to publish and disseminate our work. But at the most basic level, we use technology to create our writing. Think about it — how often do you type your work? In comparison, how often do you handwrite your work? I’m guessing that you choose the keyboard more often than you choose the pen or pencil.

Personally, I much prefer the keyboard. For me, it’s quicker and easier to get my writing done when I’m typing. If I started handwriting everything, my writing would take forever. The only time I handwrite is when I’m journaling. With any other piece of writing, you’ll find me typing away at my laptop. But I understand why you would want to choose handwriting over typing. In a post on the wonderful Brainpickings website, Anaïs Nin is quoted as saying:

Writing by hand is laborious, and that is why typewriters were invented. But I believe that the labor has virtue, because of its very physicality. For one thing it involves flesh, blood and the thingness of pen and paper, those anchors that remind us that, however thoroughly we lose ourselves in the vortex of our invention, we inhabit a corporeal world.

I believe Nin makes some good points here. The act of handwriting a piece takes far more work than simply typing it. Writing is already mentally laborious, but to add that physicality to it would make finishing a piece even more rewarding, I’m sure. And I like what Nin says about the “thingness” of using pen and paper. Writing is done so much within our own heads that it can be nice to put actual ink to paper.

In the end, I think I’ll end up choosing the convenient path of typing out my writing projects. But there’s a lot to be said for writing with pen and paper and I would encourage you to try it out!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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