First of all, I would like to thank everyone for putting up with the writing tangent that this blog decided to explore for the month of June. Believe it or not, when I created this blog back in May '08, one of the topics I wanted to explore was writing. A good portion of that year was spent exploring the various writing issues as they pertained to myself.
Some where in the fall of '08, I did drift away from that particular tangent and went off on other interesting issues (like music and work, both of which I will get back to again in the coming weeks). But since mid-May, I decided to concentrate a little more on writing, and as you saw for the month, I think I did that pretty well. A few book reviews, some exploration of how I write, what I write and why I write what I write, were some of the topics that peppered the landscape this month.
I would like to close out this month of focusing on writing, by talking a little bit about how writers are creatures of habit. Through out the month of June, I was able to gain some valuable insight on how writers tick, courtesy of both the writers who commented on my blog and from the blogs themselves. A lot of it was downright fascinating, if not completely original. And with some of it, I was surprised to see a little of it in me.
We're all creatures of habit when it comes to writing. Some of us can write multiple things at the same time. Some of us prefer to work on one project at a time. Some of us can only write with peace and quiet. Others have the ability to tune out the chaos and write when the shit literally hits the fan.
With me, I do share some of those traits, and yet I also have a few that I don't share (at least to my knowledge) with anyone else.
F'r instance: Like most people, I do need peace and quiet to write; I love being able to work on multiple projects at the same time (to whit, two blogs and three stories going at the same time); I'm very uncomfortable at having people look over my shoulder when I write; I do care about what I write for public consumption; and finally, I've learned the value of patience when it comes to explaining why I began writing in the first place.
The one trait that I do have, that I haven't really seen elsewhere, except maybe for Joanne at Whole Latte Life, is that I write out about 95% of my stuff by hand first, before sticking it on a Word document.There are a myriad of reasons why, and I would like to share a few of them with you.
1} It's easy. I know that most of you find value of doing on the laptop, no matter how big or how small (a nod to both David Cranmer and Jewel from Pink Ink in explaining the preference for a mini-notebook), but I find it's much easier to grab a notebook and a pen, and go off on a walk or a drive, to one my many favorite places to write.
2} Concentration. I don't know about you, but I find it's much easier to concentrate when I'm handwriting versus doing it all on a computer. On a computer, its ridiculously easy to go off on a tangent, only to discover what you wrote doesn't quite fit with the rest of the story or forget to save something that you spent an hour writing (which I've done numerous times. one of my more infamous moments came when I was writing my first book. I wrote three pages worth of a scene, only to forget to save it at the end. Presto, no document). Handwriting forces you to pay attention to what you write. The new story I started is exclusively handwritten, so I find it necessary (and enjoyable), going back to what I previously wrote, in order to have what I'm about to write make sense.
3} Necessity. This one is a little depressing to explain. For those of you who may or may not know, I was diagnosed in January 2008 with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. It's a neuro-muscular disease that is progressive and has no known cure. God in his infinite wisdom has decided to have this insidious disease take hold of my hands and eventually turn them into useless appendages. For the most part, it has been a downward cycle of grief. I won't go into the minute detail on how this has F'd up my life, but I will say that I now find it easier to write with a pen (after modifying my grip and holding it like a five year old) than to write with a laptop. While my handwriting has dwindled down to simply being able to sign my name, my printing has actually gotten clearer and better. I do know that using voice recognition software is in the future for me, but until then, I will keep writing my stuff out, be it short stories or blog post ideas, by hand.
4} New topics to explore. Now I don't know about you, but with pen and paper, I somehow transform into someone whose writing is a little more adventurous. Before, when I used to sit down in front of my computer and write, the writing somehow didn't seem "right". Like it was being forced or something. But now, I when I sit with pen in hand and paper on lap, things just go better. I seem to be able to explore particular topics that before I wouldn't even give the time of day previously (i.e. drug abuse as it's portrayed in my short story Syringe, or performance art as it's portrayed in my story Audio Dynamyte).
So, to sum it up, handwriting my stories is my preference of choice and my one hidden trait. I enjoy writing things out by hand, because I find that is truly the one way that I can really dig deep into myself and bring out the very best in me and my writing.