10 December 2007

Instant Gratification

I'll tell you a little secret. The item in the photo below (no, not the begonia rescued from my garden in a sleet storm, because I just couldn't let it get zapped, since Gabi and my mother-in-law bought it for me in the hospital when Ray was born, I'm talking about the journal, that black object) is something you can write poems in! And here's the good part: you don't have to log into it, and it isn't encrypted, and it probably wouldn't be the end of the world if you splashed a little diet coke on it.

Isn't that amazing? I've had this goal of writing longhand more often, and over the weekend I had all these ideas for a poem, but no time to boot my laptop. In approximately thirty-two minutes, when office hours are over, I will close my door and open the black journal and start typing up the poem. Wow!

Two possible downsides:

a) I keep worrying that I will lose it (and I can't back it up on the server).

b) I keep having mini panic attacks thinking it's my wallet sitting somewhere it doesn't belong.

I used to have a series of little black notebooks for writing stuff down on the bus or train, but in the absence of public transport I've gotten away from it.

What about you? Longhand or typed, or both?


16 comments:

ka said...

Typed mostly, unless I'm doing a writing exercise with someone then longhand.

I prefer typing because my fingers type faster than my self-censor can edit.

Penultimatina said...

That's a good point, Kelli!

I really like the flexibility of typing, how I can just play with lines, etc.

Justin Evans said...

I type for the opposite reason. I use exactly four fingers to type (three on my left hand and one on my right) and as such, I type slower, forcing my brain to slow down.

My handwriting is for the most part indecypherable so I can't ever fully understand my own writing longer than my memory lasts of what I am writing, so typing is the answer---though I do write an awful lot in long hand and hope for the best.

Karen J. Weyant said...

I still use longhand for my drafts -- I have little "black books" all over the place. :)

Afterthought: I do get that handwritten draft on the computer as fast as possible, so maybe I should think about skipping all that handwriting!

Talia said...

Looking at a computer screen totally takes all the creativty from me when I need it most. I have to write it down on paper first. When I have a "poem" I;ll type it up and edit it and all, but the computer is so full of distractions (like checking my email for the umpteenth time, or looking at the news or blogs)...there are just too many other things...

Stephanie King said...

For some reason, I can only write on the computer. But, I don't like to edit as I type, so I usually type everything in as fast as I can, without paying any attention to the screen and then go back and break everything into lines and edit. If I write longhand, I can't go quite as fast as I would like... and it hurts my wrist.

Anne said...

For poems, the first draft is nearly always longhand -- once I move to the keyboard it is too tempting to start editing, fiddling with line breaks and commas and so forth.

I usually type up the draft within a day or two, and it's interesting to see how the move from longhand to pixel changes how I look at the poem.

I do occasionally first-draft at the keyboard -- sometimes out of convenience (e.g. I'm at work in front of the computer and a poem starts nagging at me) and sometimes just because it feels right to do so. Those poems feel different -- not denser, but dense in a different way -- often prosier and with longer lines.

I do like the options the computer gives me when I'm revising and editing, though. Sometimes I print out the draft and work on the revision on paper, and sometimes I revise on the computer. But I like the physical engagement of writing in longhand.

Steven D. Schroeder said...

I type, but I have lots of notebooks for writing stuff down when I'm not near the computer, and I longhand scrawl all over my printed drafts.

cornshake said...

nice--i have a red one just like it for my travels/office work. plus, i always have a marble composition book for "larger writing" ie. essay snippets. and i never have to worry about losing my poem starts/scraps! (um, unless i lose the whole journal!)

Sara said...

I write first drafts on the computer (usually), but I like to revise long-hand. Kinda backwards. But I'm so glad you like the journal!!

Nick said...

First draft in longhand & subsequent edits in Word allowing for quick edits & different formats.

Whisper Shifter said...

When I write things down in a notebook, I'm telling the truth. But when I type them down afterwards, they become something else. I gotta look at the mirror first. Start from zero. That kinda thing.

emily said...

I type a draft of a story, then print it, then do longhand. I usually do that at least twice, which is why I have carpal-tunnel, I think.

John Gallaher said...

I suppose you could back it up with a photocopier.

And it'll still work in the coming dark times.

Yikes.

Bernadette Geyer said...

Everything gets written in longhand first. That includes poems and non-fiction. My journal goes everywhere with me and sits on my nightstand "just in case." When I have something I think is worth playing with, then I type it into the computer and edit the hell out of it. The computer is awesome for playing around with lines, changing words, saving backup drafts, etc. But for me, the first incarnation of everything I write is in pen on a piece of paper.

Leslie said...

Both. I'm never far from a journal of some sort (I take index cards and a pencil hiking ((an idea I stole from Annie Dillard)) ) but once I have something I want to work on, it goes into the computer. I type a bazillion words a minute (thanks mom for making me take typing in high school) and it is easier to let a draft develop that way. I once wrote a draft in the steam on a bathroom mirror.