Status update — So much ink

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately and I sincerly apologzie to my loyal readers. But I haven’t beem slacking off. Quite the opposite.

The short version is that I’ve been doing most of my writing in longhand and staying away from the keyboard. This also means I haven’t had much to share. Mostly it’s just been me and the cat fighting over desk space (she’s pushy and likes to play with my pens). With nothing new to report, blogging becomes an easy task to ignore.

Since I’m overdue for post, I thought I’d update you on what I’m working on.

Mostly I’ve been writing. I say mostly because that’s where my head has been even as I let real life intrude. But I have been keeping records and I’m happy to say I’ve logged several hours of uninterrupted writing time per day over the last month or so.

This has also been pure writing time for me. Since I switched to longhand writing I don’t have the distractions of the computer. This also means I can’t edit as I go. Tinkering with my text was a huge time waster. I’m just not the kind of person that can compose with a keyboard in front of me. Now it’s just pure forward progress while writing. The ink on the page doesn’t let me back up.

Basically, I figured out how to get the words out and save the editing for later.

Longhand to the rescue

While working on a story, I found out I’m more of a “pantser” (or discovery writer). The outlines and such that I made all fell flat. Sitting at the keyboard with no direction didn’t help either. That’s what initially put a pen in my hand. I needed a break from screen. Once I disconnected, the words came a lot faster and freer.

I also immediately saw the downside to doing most of my work with a pen. The biggest problem was if I tried to write the whole thing through, it would be a mess. With a shitty first draft that’s been typed, at least you have the text in the computer to edit. A mess of ink on a page is a different problem altogether. I also truly hate to repeat myself. Writing a 5000 word story in longhand was daunting enough. The thought of doing it twice was enough to make me considering giving up.

It became clear that being a longhand writing discovery writer, was not going to work out. Writing longhand is my way of unlocking the words in a way typing never could. I was also facing the hard truth that writing at a keyboard made editing so much easier. Couple this with the knowledge that anything that I wrote in ink would have to wind digital at some point, and there’s just no way I could only write longhand and still be able to share it on this blog.

I considered posting scans of my handwriting, but decided that scaring away my readers was a bad idea.

So I set about breaking the handwriting side of the equation into smaller chunks that would build on each other while still focusing on having digital text as an end result. This took the focus off of the handwriting being the final product. It also provided a way where I could work out the kinks and speed bumps of a first draft and only need to write the final piece once. With this plan in mind I was able to tackle the project.

Along the way, I also noticed the process was worth sharing.

And that brings me to a piece of news about what I’ve been doing with the last month of my life: I’ve been facedown in a bottle of ink refining this process into a book.

I’ve yet to decide on a title, so I’m calling it The Writing Book for now. It’s yet another guide to getting writing done, but it focuses on how to use handwriting to spur the author’s creativity. At this point in history it may be like publishing an updated guide to horse-drawn carriage repair. But it’s been a way for me to re-embrace the physical act of writing.

The book is about three quarters written, and yet to be transcribed. I hope to have it out sometime around the beginning of November. If I make it in time for NaNoWriMo, that will be a bonus.

Once this book is out the door, I have another one planned. It will be about how to use Ulysses to create an e-book from start to finish. I’ve written several blog post about the topic, but it seems right to put information into an actual e-book.

Along the way I also plan to be working on the novel. We’ll have to see how that goes.

To my readers, thanks for sticking around during this posting drought. I’ll have more to post about as I finish up the book and dive into these other projects.