Longhand Novel Writing

I am going to try my 'hand"--hee hee--at longhand writing. I've hit a roadblock with the Mac, and it's labyrinth of "save as" and "file" commands, nevermind the lugging it to the library every few days.

Many other famous writers, such as John Irving (Cider House Rules, Garp, etc.) write longhand. Many have hired typists to enter the longhand into the computer. Heck, some--like the late Sidney Sheldon--transcribe their novels. Yes, he literally dictated them. Barbara Cartwright, romance queen, used to have a courtroom stenographer write down her novels. Barbara sat on a couch and stroked her cat and dreamed up the novel No joke!

And should we forget about all the fabulous authors--JD Salinger, Gertrude Stein, FS Fitzgerald, Hemingway, some of the best ever--who had to type directly into a Smith Corona typewriter, one peck at a time. That was before White Out! No wonder the few modern typing writers, like Cormac McCarthy and director Woody Allen, savor their typewriters so divinely: they're almost irreplaceable.

Longhand, by pen, is slower, but more thoughtful. Longhand can be input with Dragon Naturally Speaking v.11, and even if it gets one in 20 words written like alphabet soup, we are going back and editing the entire thing again, right? If you've not tried it, at about $60, it's much better than prior versions, and one can read their longhand into a desktop $20 microphone and save boatloads of keyboard time. That is one tip I might suggest to you, my fellow free-hand writers.

John Irving writes his first drafts in fancy $35 Boorum and Pease bound journals. For the rest of us, stenographer's pads--the kind with spiral bound at the top and flippable for a flat lay on the desk--work wonders, and can easily poise on a monitor side stand for easy transcribing. Try that with a leather bound journal.

Many, from my online search this morning, espouse freehand writing as a remedy for computer snags and viruses. But, don't forget, although computers get the sniffles with a virus and might lose our hard work in one massive "ka-choo", paper is not forever.

Just ask my neighbor down the way whose house is now cinders after their cat, Jinxy, kicked over a tea candle.

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