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On writing: slow down to speed up

September 18, 2013 25 comments

Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Write slower to write more. Yeah, didn’t seem reasonable to me, either … at first. But, after reading The Secret to Writing Faster, I thought a bit more about the proposition. And you know what? It makes sense.

If you didn’t go and read the article, I can summarize it by saying the author, Karen Dionne, believes that writing longhand can actually be faster, in the end, than using a computer. Pretty outlandish, huh? Well, not necessarily. Many years ago, I wrote a fair amount of my first novel by hand (I mention this briefly in an old blog post My first novel: a retrospective – part I) Though I didn’t expound much on the experience in the older post, I can say now that I did see some of the two main advantages Dionne describes in her article. She said that

My sentences are also cleaner. Because I write more slowly by hand than I can type, I give more thought to what I’m writing, and am thus more careful about what I put on page.

and

… that’s the corollary to writing faster. Slow down. Think about the words before you put them to paper, and the words you write are more likely to be ones that will stay.

Looking back, I can say I think this was true for me as well. Yes, I bemoaned the need for typing in all those well-crafted words after having already written them in notebooks, but I think overall the sentences and the story were better for having been written by hand. Now to be fair, even though I believe what I just said, I haven’t, as of yet, given up my MacBook and Scrivener.

Where I write

My Desk

It should be noted that the idea of writing slower can also be applied even when sitting in front of a computer and keyboard. It’s just harder, that’s all 🙂

So, anyone out there like to do things old-school? Done it before and hated it? Loved it? Never going to give up on the computer?

–dp