Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Handwritten Word

Computers have made life easier for writers in so many ways.  Its a normal sight to see writers tapping away at their computers in any given Starbucks.  Before the keyboard the typewriter revolutionized the publishing industry and the life of a writer. Sometimes its good to get back to the roots of writing and nothing quite feels like being an author than sitting away in some remote location typing on a typewriter, much like in the Stephen King novel, The Shinning.  To go even further into the past, handwriting can be a forgotten but useful tool for writers. Without the ability to edit on the go without liquid whiteout, handwriting can be a great starting process to let the ideas flow onto the paper.  It's not just an archaic process from the days long past and can help connect writers with their creative side and writing process. 

As a writing exercise I like to wander around off the beaten path and immerse myself in nature.  I encourage people to take a walk in an inspiring location and just write whatever comes to mind.  Don't worry about perfect grammar or spelling and just clear your mind.  I sometimes write songs while sitting on a beach, or sitting on a log in a quiet forest and watching the wildlife.  Sometimes just sitting and people watching in a busy city can be helpful and you can write someone a creative back story and possibly use them as a character in a project.  The point is to just have fun and get thinking about things from different perspectives.  Handwriting really works well in places where computers are just to hard to carry around and its a great way to develop a personal writing style. 

I also encourage writers to keep a handwritten journal meant for just the everyday musing.  It helps to hone the writing skills and doesn't need to be perfect because its for your eyes only. Journals are great tools to keep writers writing everyday, even if it is just about personal thoughts and viewpoints or even documenting important events and turning points.  In a decade a journal will be a fun piece to reread and bring back memories and see how much your writing has improved.  It's important to master the written word the hard way before truly being able to use computers.  Where any word program will offer a spelling and grammar check, writing with pen and paper wont and handwriting accurately without tools should come before relying on computers to do the work.  Everyone should learn the fundamentals and too many writers out there underestimate the importance of grammar and I'll admit to relying too heavily on my spell check function, but improvement will come with practice. 

I encourage everyone to get out and start writing in a notebook.  Write down observations about people, and how the world works.  Being able to analysis and understand the human condition will make everyone better writers in the end.  Get out in the world and experience as much as possible because its always better to write what you know, even for science fiction and fantasy writers.   

Please leave a comment, story or opinion about handwriting or anything mentioned in today's Sunday Personal Post, I want to hear from you! 

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