When I first started writing stories (back in elementary school, basically as soon as I learned how to read and spell), I of course wrote with pencil and paper. I kept up this method all the way through college, actually. I wrote my first drafts of stories and school papers on notebook paper with a pen (I graduated from a pencil sometime in high school, I think). Then when I typed it, I did some minor editing as I typed, and wound up with a second draft.
This method served me well for many years. Usually the changes and edits I made while typing were small, like a change in word choice, or cutting one line of dialogue. But still, it was a good exercise, and at the very least I wound up with a polished first draft, if not a full-blown second draft.
In my post-college years, I got away from that method – especially once I got a laptop with an up-to-date version of Word. First draft creation occurred with a keyboard, glowing screen, and red or green underlining if I made a spelling or grammatical mistake. After a while, I actually found it difficult to draft a new story with pen and paper.
A couple of years ago I started carrying a notebook everywhere, mostly for just jotting down ideas and notes as they came to me. I’ve written a few blog posts in that notebook, but that’s it when it comes to actual writing.
Then a few weeks ago I started working on a new short story, and I started writing it in my idea-and-blog notebook. I found myself scribbling away page after page, and re-experienced that simple joy of writing by hand. It’s slower than typing (for me, at least – I’m a pretty fast typist). I don’t have spell check or delete, so I have to scratch through things if I write the wrong word. I abbreviate a lot of words because it takes too long to write them out. It’s a little tedious.
But it’s freeing and fun. As I’ve been working on this current story, I’ve been tempted to type up what I’ve written so I can finish on the computer – but I’ve decided against it. I’m going to write this story the old-fashioned way, and then as I type it up I’ll already have a second draft in the works.
How do you write? Does anybody out there still use pen (or pencil) and paper for a first draft? Do you use Word, Scrivener, or some other program? Please share!
4 thoughts on “How Do You Write?”
I use Word, keeping it pretty basic. I do carry a pocket notebook for jotting down ideas and such when I’m on the go… I’m never without it. But I haven’t written anything long-format into a notebook for fifteen years or so. Although I find transcribing written text into a word processing format to be an aggravating time-sink myself, I do have good writing friend that loves to write her first drafts into notebooks.
That’s good to hear that you and your friend have different habits, but have found what works for you. 🙂 I managed this short story in long hand, but I’m not sure if I want to go back to writing whole novels this way. We’ll see! 😉
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Interesting subject! 😀 Definitely while we live in an age of Word Processor programs in laptops, still there are many ways to write down the material of a writer, and even the process of taking notes on the brainstorming 😉
I always start making notes on paper when I’m in the early stages of brainstorming. 😉