I’m starting a new longer project, and doing so longhand. I have a 100-sheet notebook (graph paper, natch) and am beginning to densely fill the pages. I counted 634 words on one side of one sheet, which means an entire novel-length piece can comfortably fit in one notebook. I haven’t done serious longhand work since roughly college days* . A few observations.


Seriously, this is cramping my style, literally. I’ve invested in a few of those funky-shaped ergonomic pencil grippies, and we’ll see how it goes.

I’m by no means a fast writer, but this slows it down even more. My high point over the past week was only both sides of one sheet, or ~1250 words. Not even NaNoWriMo-level output. At this pace (and this was my peak) it would take 71 days to write a 90,000 word draft. Then comes retyping.

But, at least so far, I’m happier with the writing. Going slower means that things seem to come together better, and the draft feels higher quality than starting out in a word processor.

But, I fear for larger-scale issues. There’s no document search here, people. Perhaps this will force me to embrace just writing, and fixing problems in post.

A blank sheet of paper is a lot different than a blank screen. Getting started on a new chapter requires flexing a different set of muscles.

Any writers out there like to work in longhand? What are your tips and tricks?


*(Not counting one 70-page disaster that I shall not speak of again)