A few weeks ago, I had an unfortunate incident, wherein some watersplashed onto my MacBook trackpad and keyboard, causing them to stop working properly. The MacBook, sick, had to go to the Apple Hospital in order to get better. I was more than happy to make sure it got the best care available, but that meant having nowhere to type my current Work In Progress. I was stumped.
Until my eyes landed on my writing journal. I normally used it for ideas, notes, quick descriptions, random scenes and the like. But there was ample space for true writing. So, after two days of mourning the temporary loss of my Mac, I took a small portable table, a folding chair, and my coffee into my garage, opened the door to a cool early morning breeze, took my new ADD medication, and spent the next 4 hours writing in my journal, my iPhone's iPod playing the movie scores that inspire me.
And I've loved every minute of it.
Writing my current WIP in longhand has been the best thing I've ever done in MY ENTIRE LIFE. Except maybe marry my husband. Maybe. It was less like I was writing a novel I hoped others would read and publish, and more like writing fake memories I wanted to remember in my old age. It was just plain fun, without the pressures of making sure I didn't use the same word in the same paragraph, or feeling the need to go back and fix a scene so it would work with the one I was working on. Instead of scrolling back and doing that, I simply got to write a note or a quick description of something I forgot on a sticky note and put it where I needed the reminder. With just that aspect, I was able to make alot more progress than when I was typing it out.
For those novices out there, I suggest you all at least try longhand writing your WIP. It may turn out its SO NOT for you, but then again you may find the lack of Twitter, YouTube, and various interweb distractions entirely refreshing, affording you better concentration on your actual writing, which is what happened for me. Even now that I have my beloved MacBook home and all better, I'm not on it as much as I used to be. I still take my journal and my coffee out each morning and write. During the heat hours, I come back in and catch up on emails, blog posts, the DVR, or watch one of the movies that inspires me to write, and in the cooler evenings go back out and write some more. I haven't been able to keep track of my #writegoal's as well as I'd like, because there have been times where I needed to scratch out a page or more of writing that was so wrong in so many ways, but the scenes still flow better, and more frequently. I used to demand at least 1,000 words from myself each day, but now I am just glad if I get a scene or a chapter done by the end of the day. And that makes me truly happy.
Now that my Mac is back, I'm still going to longhand my entire WIP. When its done, I'll transcribe it into Pages, editing, adding, reworking and revising as I go. Its the best way I work. Because I can't revise very much while longhanding, I can finish the pre-first draft much sooner and with far less worry, then fix what needs fixing as I type it out into the first draft. And in the future, every WIP will have a pre-first draft written in journals before they even make it the computer.