People have asked me why I write my first drafts by hand. They see me at the library, coffee shop, a park, writing by hand. They stop me to ask what I’m doing. Do I have homework, what classes am I taking. What’s my major.
I’m a workaholic. I work to keep busy, to keep my mind occupied. It helps me ignore the agony, as Maya Angelou described, of the stories inside me that won’t come out. They’re just as stubborn as I am. We’re at war and I’m convinced I’m losing.
With such an incredible volume of work that I’ve created for myself, it’s harder and harder to think about anything else. Mock Event feedback needs another review and, hopefully, distribution. Weekly mailers need scheduling, website needs updating, Facebook Corp needs a reply, bank needs a phone call, TeeSpring needs another design. Members need answers. Everything has to get done on top of Games, with its ten-minutes-per-entry compilation process, intern wrangling, participant questions, feedback, and score justifications.
If I turn on my computer, it’s to work.
Avoiding work is not the only reason I write by hand. I use pen and paper because my brain moves too fast to keep up with. I need a physical excuse to slow down my thoughts and allow myself to think them. I need to connect with the words, physically, to know that they feel right—for the story, for the characters, the world I’m constructing. Keystrokes don’t allow a physical connection; they’re absent of emotion.
If I type a first draft, I have no idea what it says ten minutes after it’s written because I’m not actively invested in crafting the words. Language is clay; words need form. I write by hand so I know what the words feel like. So I remember them. Right now, I’m so strung out on what needs to be done.
But I’m trying.
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About the Author: Theresa Green is the co-founder of The Writer's Workout and a crime fiction writer.