I find that when writing by hand, I am able to get into the flow of things much more easily. I can find that sweet spot where my pen becomes an extension of my brain and I don't even register the words that I write until I've written them. Of course, much of this material ends up on the cutting floor, but then doesn't much of ALL material end up there? Still, writing by hand makes the act of writing feel more natural and relaxing. It also circumvents self-censorship long enough to get the heart of my scene/description/line of reasoning out into the light of day. As I watch the pages fill with my neat, less neat, and out-right sloppy script, I feel progress happening. Literally. I feel it in my fingers. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think I am being productive, so I am inspired to continue working, and end up being productive.
My most effective process looks something like this:
- Write, by hand, whatever words flow from the pen. À la good old "guess and go" spelling.
- Make some changes by hand.
- Type what I've written, editing and rewriting as I go along.
- Print and edit by hand again.
I know some can edit on-screen, and that works for me for catching glaring typos and things I can easily resolve on the fly. But for developmental editing and reorganization, I need the spatial representation of the content changes and relocations. I find I am too easily distracted when editing in digital form.
What about you? What does your writing process look like? What works, what doesn't? Let me know!