Monthly Archives: February 2015

By hand

I’ve begun to see several blog posts around about writing by hand. That is how I started because I hadn’t uncoupled my typing from my thinking. Now the typing is much faster and unconscious so I am able to think about the words and not where my fingers need to go. The speed is so much better, but I do miss the ‘by hand’ part of writing. I sometimes wonder if I should go back to it, but then realized that I am writing on borrowed time. I get up at 6 every morning just to have an hour or so to write before getting ready for my day job. I edit on my 30 minute lunch and my evenings are filled with dinner, family events and tiredness. That hour in the morning is golden, carved out time and it is essential to get as much down as I can and typing is, regrettably, the fastest way to get there. I usually get about 1200-1500 words in that time and there is no way I could do that by hand in the same time. I keep telling myself when I get to be a full time writer (when I sell a movie deal or a book hits the NYT bestseller list, it is good to dream big), that I will go back to that by hand first draft. The real me is not so sure, simply because I’ve become accustomed to the speed and I have so much to write and already have the bones of the next two novels rattling around in a bag in the corner of my mind, like the bones of Rebecca’s parents in “A Hundred Years of Solitude” along with a dozen more ideas. Speed is addictive and time is of the essence. I envy those who have the time to do it all first on real paper with a favorite pen or pencil.
Write On.
JRH

Hoarded Ordinaries

Love at first sight

Nature journal - Sept 10 2009

Nature journal - Sept 11 2008

Nature journal - Sept 5 2007

This time last year

Lynda Barry's Syllabus

Two views

The top photo shows the first draft of this post, which I wrote by hand in my journal. The second and seventh photos are images from Syllabus itself, and the other photos show you previously-blogged images from the nature journal I used to keep when I taught a first-year Thinking & Writing class called “The Art of Natural History” at Keene State College.

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Inky Breadcrumbs and the Forgotten Magic of Writing by Hand

I wrote the first draft of my first novel ‘Smokestack’ entirely by hand. I don’t regret it for a second. I miss that I don’t have time to get the pen and notebook out to write that way anymore. I’m too focused on getting the words down to think about the method. And I am so much faster typing than writing. If I had not been pushed by time to write on the computer, I would probably still be writing with a favorite fountain pen I have had since high school on cheap notebooks or Moleskene ones( when I could afford them), if there weren’t so many stories in my head that need out. The speed is the the thing since the time is of the essence. This post sums it up nicely. JRH

EJB Writing Studio

Photo by Erin J. Bernard Photo by Erin J. Bernard

Hey, writer! When was the last time you took a good look at your own hands? I mean, a really, really good long look?

Sure, they’re fluttering in and out of the periphery of vision over the course of any average day, assisting in the picking up and setting down of life’s dull and delightful objects. But, most often, their task feels secondary – to hold up for inspection the things you’ve deemed far more fascinating: smartphones, babies, books, burritos.

There’s little incentive to notice them. And this strikes me as odd. So do it now. Have a good, long gander. What do you see? Look carefully: your hands are miraculous, surprising, ordinary, and, for my money, entirely underappreciated.

You’re in good retroactive company. I’m first writing this by hand, in fact, down here in Mexico, though by the time it reaches its final destination…

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moth has a sudden and shocking realization.

I’ve really gotten smitten with Sarah’s work. It has darkness and depth that is amazing in the initial simplicity of the design. It is like a really good blues guitarist in Toledo Ohio named Pat Lewondowski http://patlewandowski.com/ can do playing a walking bass line and the solo guitar riffs at the same time on a 6 string acoustic. I’m thinking of what she would do with illustrations for one of my children’s stories.

sarahgoodreau

Moth

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Words. Huh. What are they good for?

I’ve been keeping up with the 365K words in a year challenge I’ve set for myself. So far as of this morning I’m 532 words ahead of the count. That does not include the words of this post. I’ve realized that the challenge is not so much in keeping up the discipline to write every day, it is more in the discipline to stop. I can and have cranked at around 2500 words a day for a month or better, during NanoWriMo last November (I got a late start and had to play catch up). The trick now is to stop at around 1100-1200 words and then spend time editing. That is the habit I’ve gotten into and It seems to help. Given my own preference I’d rather write and not have to edit. But, since I cannot write without needing edits, it is a necessary evil. That is where the 1000 words a day comes in. I usually get up at 6AM and spend about 90 minutes in my office, writing and/or editing. I’ve previously been in the mindset of doing one or the other but not both and I’ve found it left me feeling less than enthusiastic during the stretched of editing. Now I’ve started to split time and the thousand words comes out usually around 45 minutes to an hour in to the work, leaving 30-60 minutes to edit. I’ve already seen the fruits of this. I’m six weeks in and have nearly edited the entirety of one of my previous novels on the first pass of editing, and still managed to write about 47K words of new material in a book that seems to have taken a life of its own. So far, I’d say the experiment is a success. I hope to keep it up and the result will be a year with maybe 3 novels finished and at least one published. That is the plan. Maybe more will come from it. I hope so.

As of the end of this post I am now 867 words ahead.

JRH

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And so it goes again.

I just heard back from a contest to which I had submitted what I thought was some of my best work. I did not place. I wonder if the month long cut down to 16K words took to much out of the story to make it readable. I wonder what to do with it now. Do I leave it short, I worked so hard to cut it down. Do I go back to one of the intermediate cutdown lengths and leave it there for more of the story. I’m bummed and confused. At the same time I guess I’m glad I at least know. That story is the one thing that is finished which I can keep trying to get published, or maybe just do as self publish. I just don’t know. I need to get something moving. I did not publish anything in 2014. I need to get back on the horse, but the horse had gone missing. I am going to ponder the next step with “Gilgamesh Shuffle” for a few days. I think it is a good story, but finding anyone else to think the same has been a challenge. That is it. It is always a challenge to get anyone to look at anything. Sigh. Enough self pity and navel gazing. I’ll just keep writing and editing and try and figure out the other parts as I go along. That is all I can do. No one ever said that being a writer would be easy.

JRH

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