I mentioned last post about my reaction to Wendig’s post. One of the things that post got me thinking about was Neil Gaiman’s process as an example of something I’ve learned from. I may have mentioned it here before (but it’s ben so long ago I’ve forgotten if I have), but Gaiman suggests here and here part of his process.
The second link is one I’ve only recently found (while searching for the first). The relevant take-away there is:
…Novels I write in longhand. For novels, I like the whole first and second draft feeling, and the act of making paper dirty… Working in fountain pen is good because it slows me down just enough to keep my handwriting legible.
He also mentions using two pens – with different inks – to track each day (when writing in a journal).
Which leads to the first link. I had gotten into a funk where attempts at writing while staring at a computer screen wasn’t working for me (something that’s reared it’s head recently that I can only describe as “editor at work”). Somewhere around the time I saw the post above, I was looking for something… something to get me out of my head and rekindle the joy of writing that was there but just wasn’t finding its way out of my head.
Along came Neil with his fountain pens.
So I tried it. And it started working. I could scribble my way down the page and still have enough flexibilty to scribble notes in the margin as I went (“add this” or “look this up”). I can scratch out a line quicker than I can click and drag to highlight and delete. There was some psychological tipping point of actually seeing physical pages stacking up as I went, not just a counter at the bottom of a screen. By going longhand, I found myself less focused on how it looked and more on getting words down.