Last week my friend Krista V. did a post about how she gets her writing done. She’s a busy mom like me and some people are curious to know how we actually find time to write, let alone finish and revise novels. (I have a whole bagful of dirty tricks I’ll share on another post.)

Anway, I talked about one thing I do that seems to help me get more writing done. It sounds a little backwards, but it works for me.

I write my first drafts longhand.

I know, it sounds like it would slow me down, and considering that I type about 80 words a minute and probably write 20 words a minute it seems like a waste, but it isn’t. Here’s why:

A. Less Competition. I have three children. Two of them like to play on the computer. One of them likes to bite my ankles while I’m on the computer. They all hate it when I’m on the computer! So in an effort to preserve a little writing time during the day I started writing long-hand. I have a little black book for each of my projects, and while one kids is napping and the others are playing or eating or on the computer, I hide in a corner and write.

B. Less Distraction. When you just have a pen and paper, there is less temptation to be distracted by other things on the internet, such as blogs and email and Facebook and Twitter and My Space and YouTube… It’s just you and the paper. You feel so in love!

C. Less Intimidation. There is something about forming the letters and words with my own hand that just frees me up. I scribble and cross stuff out, draw arrow arrows, rip out pages. It feels less intimidating than word processing. (Yes, I know about about cut and paste, find and replace. The delete key is my friend.)

C. More Revision. At night I type my long hand into the computer and I revise a little as I go.

This seemingly slow process has amazingly helped me to move faster because generally when I’m in a corner writing in a book, no one is screaming at me or biting me or telling me to get off the computer because they need to feed their Webkinz!

Does anyone else write longhand?


  1. I do this, too, when I’m first-drafting! In addition to all the benefits you mentioned, it’s also a great way to shake things up and see your words a little differently.

  2. I’ve tried to write longhand once, and it drove me nuts! I’m impressed you can do it. I get irritated with the phrasing of sentences and the fact that my pen doesn’t have the delete key. Your point B, though, makes me want to try it again. I am, unfortunately, easy prey to distraction. Thanks for the advice!

  3. Sometimes I write longhand when I’m supposed to be paying attention in class (I know, I know, I’m a bad student). I can’t imagine doing it all the time.

  4. Wow, I am always amazed at people who write long hand. I get so frustrated because it comes out way too slow! But you have a great list of benefits — and I have to admit, that like Kate I do sometimes write longhand in places I should be doing other things. Like meetings, and class, and … you know 😉

  5. I always begin longhand but later transition to the computer. There is something very tactile about a pen and paper.

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