Of Paper, Blogs and Books

When I interviewed Roland Smith, it surprised me to learn that he writes his first draft by hand in a journal. I haven’t done that since seventh grade, the first time I ever completed writing a novel. The whole thing was written out on lined notebook paper in my Trapper Keeper. I still have it somewhere. In the garage. I think.

But I have noticed that whenever I get stuck on a story, it helps me to print it out and go over it with a pencil. It looks different in print than it does on screen. I look at my words differently. Scribbling notes to myself on paper or in a journal also helps. I never write a full outline, but I do like to write ideas, scenes or snatches of conversation on a note card.

Where do you write your first drafts? Do you write any part of them by hand? Does writing by hand help you when you’re stuck?


Tomorrow I’m going to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and I can hardly wait!! Not only am I looking forward to hearing authors like Lisa Yee, Megan McDonald, Ally Condie and Allen Zadoff, I also get to see crazy blogger buddy Shannon Whitney Messenger. Woo-hoo! And did I mention the festival is FREE? I love free πŸ™‚

Today I get to hang out with Casey McCormick. Coffee will be involved. And books. It’ll be a blogtastic start to my weekend. I love that so many writers who I’ve met through blogging have turned out to be living, breathing people. People that I call friends.

One of those amazing bloggers gets a Roland Smith paperback of their choice. And today the winner is Kristin at Another Gray Day.

Congrats, Kristin! Send me your snail mail and your title of choice and I’ll get that book out to you. And to everybody else, have an amazing weekend! I know I will πŸ™‚

20 thoughts on “Of Paper, Blogs and Books

  1. The only time I write by hand is when an idea hits me. If I'm not on the computer, I'll write it on paper (or whatever's handy at the time) before I forget it. That is the ONLY time. πŸ˜€

  2. Like you, I find that a brain block can sometimes be jolted out of by switching mediums. If I'm on the computer, I might try writing longhand in my journal. And vice versa. Basically I do whatever works until it stops, lol. But I suppose I do *prefer* going straight into the computer, since it (in theory) saves you time.

    Have fun at the festival! Sounds awesome.

  3. I love writing in my notebooks and I write out a good amount of my dialogue (maybe even most of it) on paper, but when it comes to writing full scenes I go with the computer. If I can make the comparison to building a painting, for me it's kinda like starting with a rough sketch with a pencil and then going back in with another medium to put in the details.

    Woo! Festival of Books! I've gotten into the habit of going for the past couple of years, but my sister is usually my festival buddy and she's talking about not going this year! I still have a day to convince her, but if not, oh well. She'd only slow me me down, anyway…(sniff)

    I wonder how the change in venue will effect it.

  4. I pretty much only write long-hand when I am not near a computer. I actually have a journal that I carry around with me, a kind of short story scrap book, where I'll jot down ideas, random prose, research, images, etc. While I write better at the computer, I plot better with pencil. For me, the typing part really comes down to speed–I type so much faster than I write (and I can actually read the resulting text).

  5. Awesome! I might be going to the LA Times Festival of Books too! It's relatively closer this year (USC instead of UCLA), so more of my friends want to go.

    I can't write fast enough and I'm too lazy to write by hand for first drafts. I do like revising/going over it in print though. You're absolutely right; text just looks different printed out. It's easier to catch mistakes.

    Have fun this weekend!

  6. I'm just the same – daunted by the thought of doing an entire draft on paper, but I always turn to it to nut out the tricky bits. I envy your proximity to these wonderful writerly events!

  7. If I have difficulty starting a novel, I write the beginning by hand. It's something to do with the flow of ink and writing in a pretty notebook.

    Enjoy the festival! I love that it's free.

  8. Sounds like you're having an awesome weekend πŸ™‚

    I had never heard of Roland Smith, but on Thursday my son begged me to buy him Cryptid Hunters. I was shocked; I kid hates to read. Of course I ran right out for it.

    Looks interesting . .


  9. Great post!
    I always draft with pen and paper – no words will come when I'm on the computer, as I'll keep fiddling with spelling, checking things on the internet, etc. Whereas on paper, I never misspell anything, I can make notes in the margins – and I can take the pen and paper anywhere!

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