A Writing Journey

Hard Copy

It is Sunday. I don’t normally post on the weekends, nor do I intend to make a habit of it. But today I wanted to. Today I felt the post bubbling up inside of me, ready to meet the internet. So here it is!

In my post on editing and rewriting, I mentioned that I edit everything hard-copy. I know that I’m not the only one to do this, I know that my reasons for doing so are not unique. But I thought I would share them with you anyway, because maybe you will see something new in them.

When I first start writing, I write it out in notebooks. I always use colored pens. For me, it is much to easy when writing on the computer to get frustrated and delete things that might actually be good, or at least have potential. Even if I tear pages out of my notebook and throw them in the trash – I can retrieve them when I am more level-headed. When I’m writing, physically moving my hand and fingers to draw the letters on a page, The world opens up before me. I can see everything so clearly, I know just what is going to happen next. A glowing screen is daunting, it takes away what I know about my story, it makes me question everything. But if I already have the story written down, I ignore the glowing screen and just type. And that typing is my first cycle of revision. What I write in my notebooks is never what comes out on the screen. I see the places where I’ve worded things poorly, I see mistakes in consistency. I still call my typed version the first draft, but maybe it isn’t. Maybe the first draft is what’s in all those notebooks, sitting in the drawer now, hidden from view.

When I edit, I print the hard copy for reasons similar to why I start with hand-writing everything. The edits aren’t as permanent as if I opened the word document and started slashing away. I can scribble all over the pages and cut the things that are wrong, the things that don’t fit, the chapters that are useless for the story. When I edit hard-copy, that world opens up to me again.

Of course, there are other reasons I edit hard-copy as well. Sitting in front of a screen for hours on end strains the eye, my shoulder cramps, I get distracted. I guess my point is, that to me writing and typing aren’t the same thing. For many I’m sure it is. But for me, writing is always done when no letter looks quite the same as the last, when the words grow or shrink depending on how fast I’m writing or how new the pen is. Writing is my heart and soul. Typing is the job I apply my passion to.

Take care, fellow travelers.


Comments on: "Hard Copy" (4)

  1. I can’t write stories by hand, unfortunately, because I start thinking way too much and get distracted from what I’m actually working on. I edit on a hard copy though. I like being able to physically feel the shape of my novel, and in this case, all the extra thinking is beneficial. I agree with you: writing is by hand, storytelling is done through technology. There is nothing more powerful in the writing world than a word drawn by your own fingers.

    • You are absolutely correct, Alex. I know plenty of people who can’t write by hand first. And it’s wonderful that you and all of those others have a system that works! Thanks for the comment! Stop by again soon!

      • I think it would be fascinating to look at the different processes that writers have for how they write and edit. I imagine they would be as unique as the writers’ voices themselves. Like you say, we’ve all got a system that works.

        • You’re right, the processes of different writers would be interesting to look at. I love learning about how other people do things!

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