Luddites Unite!

Okay, so I’m not technically a dyed-in-the-wool Luddite, since clearly you’re reading this note on a blog, on the interwebs, and not scratched into a cave wall with a stone. But I’m one week into my experiment – which if you recall was to take a novel I’d just finished the first draft of, and handwrite the second draft – and I’ve noted some interesting side effects thus far.

1) I seem to write a very clean First Draft, just as I’d always suspected. In fact, over the years, my First Drafts have gotten cleaner and leaner. Although I’ve changed a few words here and there, and altered a few sentences, I’m several chapters (and half a tube of Aspircream) in and so far no huge changes or big segments altered.

2) I found the perfect cramping break for my hands was to work on the cover art, which was surprisingly difficult for this one. I’ve never had such a time coming up with the “right” look for a cover before, which surprised me, but I think I finally did reach a solid conclusion.

3) I sometimes like to write with a pencil. Yep, even though I bought a new pen for this experiment, and I like that pen a lot, I find myself getting really comfortable with a pencil. I think it harkens back to my early days in school, using a pencil for nearly everything. Plus, when I do make a blunder, it irritates me to see a glob of ink there, and it’s nice to be able to just erase the boo boo.

4) Simplify has been my motto for years, and it’s seriously creeping in to my writing comfort zone. The physical aspect of it, that is. I’m loving how it’s just me and my notebook and pen/pencil. No booting up, no cursor blinking, no Microsoft formatting trying to impose it’s authority over my own. I don’t have to keep explaining to Word that ‘splainin’ is a fine word, properly spelled, thankyouverymuch.

5) I’ve finally shaken off a lot of the nasty side effects that crept over me during an unfortunate time spent in a writer’s forum, and come out the other side stronger, wiser, and clued in – if you will – to some very insightful things.

6) I’ve given myself permission to let the story determine length, and the speed with which it is accomplished. I don’t even check word counts any longer, they’re meaningless. Just as meaningless as micro-labeling genres, which I’ll chat about later on.

There are other issues, other developments, that involve writing by hand that I’ll go at in more depth later, I only have a few minutes to spare (kill) right now and just wanted to gab. This summer is going to be very exciting for me, writerly wise. I’ve learned a lot and discovered a ton and have experienced a sort of … well it’s hard to describe. But it’s exciting, primal and new all at the same time.

And now it’s time to wash out my coffee pot, and my cup, and drive home for the evening.