Longhand versus Laptop

Up until now, I’ve written my novels solely via laptop. Sure, I’ve mapped out outlines, ideas, and characters in a notebook (okay, so I have notebooks everywhere, and it might be an addiction, but that’s a different post), but the actual writing has taken place at my computer. Then I had something weird happen a few weeks ago.

(NOTE: This is not the actual pen used, but I am SO getting this pen one day!)

I had a client need to reschedule an appointment at work, which left me with an entire hour of writing time–except that my laptop was at home. For some reason, I pulled out my legal pad rather than the cute flowered notebooks I usually carry, and decided to write a chapter. The words flew onto the page, and when I typed them into the computer that night, I’d written almost 3K words…in an hour. For me, that’s a lotta words, and even though I took shorthand in high school, I also took typing, so I couldn’t believe how fast I was. The other strange part was that when I went back the next day to edit, it required way less editing than usual. In the next two days, I easily wrote two more chapters that way. I know there are studies out there about enhanced neural activity and increased memory capacity in writing versus typing, but I’d never tried it out for myself.

Summer with the kiddos has challenged my writing time, but my goal for this week is to get 10K words completed, because I’m excited to finish my new book…and because my agent is waiting patiently for it.;)

Have you tried writing in longhand versus typing? Anyone else notice a difference?

Oh, and Happy July 4th! The Wednesday Query Critique will be back next Wed. 7/11.

8 comments to Longhand versus Laptop

  • Oh my goodness, what a revelation! So excited for you. Have to confess, I wouldn’t be able to follow in your footsteps. I have occasionally been known to write a scene or three in my notebook when the urge came to me, but I find it exhausting and my handwriting is so bad, I can barely read my scribbles later. I think a dictation device would be my next step…. hee hee! Congrats, though, and good luck! x

  • Wow, impressive. Increased memory capicity eh? At my age that can only be a plus. Perhaps I’ll give this a go. Thanks for a great post.

  • I don’t know if I could do it. I write slowly, because if I write fast I revert to “doctor handwriting.” And yes, I had a teacher tell me in middle school that I should become a doctor because my handwriting is so bad. If I write deliberately to keep it neat, I also write too slowly to finish anything, ever!

    Since I used to work as a transcriptionist, I type relatively fast. I don’t know how that translates to accuracy, or if it means I have to edit twice as much later, but I think I have to at least try writing vs. typing. If nothing else, maybe my handwriting will improve! 🙂

  • Nicky–I’ve considered the dictation thing too, but don’t know anyone who has tried it. Let me know if it works for you!

  • I feel the same way–and you’re welcome!

  • What’s funny is that when I have to sign Dr. Helvig on client paperwork, everyone tells me that I have the neatest handwriting they’ve seen for a doctor. I think I have the penmanship class in elementary school to thank for that. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • I usually start everything on paper. I have tons of composition books with partial stories in them. Once I get on a role I transition to the computer. But if I know I’m not going to have my computer and think of a scene I need to write, I’ll write in on paper and I revise it as I type it.

  • Sharon–All my story ideas start on paper too! That’s another interesting point as far as the creativity aspect of writing versus typing. I don’t think I’ve ever typed a story that didn’t start as scribbled notes in one of my notebooks. Thanks for commenting!