How Do You Write?

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!

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4 thoughts on “How Do You Write?

  1. 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.

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  2. 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 😉

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