Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Misha Gerrick with 5 Reasons to Write by Hand

Please welcome Misha Gerrick with:

Five Reasons to Write by Hand


If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know I draft my stories by hand. Most of you probably wondered why, though. So I thought it would make a good topic for me to write about here.

Without further ado, here are my five reasons for writing by hand:

1) If you over-edit (in other words, edit so much in the quest for perfection that you take the soul out of your writing), hand drafting makes you stop. You can’t hit the delete button if it’s written in pen. I suppose you can go back and edit old-school, but it’ll be a lot more tricky than hitting delete.

2) If you write by hand, it’s pretty much a fact that you have to rewrite the whole thing. You have to get the story to the internet, don’t you? Why is this a good thing, you might ask? Well. If you know you have to rewrite regardless of quality, it means that you have nothing to lose by taking risks and pushing yourself to extremes. Which means that things will happen in your writing that you would never have dared before. Especially when you’re an over-editor.

3) Writing by hand connects to a different part of your brain compared to typing. I’ve found that this part of my brain better connects to my creativity, which is like bonus points to point #2.

4) Maybe it’s the fact that hand writing forces me to slow down, or maybe it’s #3 doing its work, but writing by hand connects me to the story more. It also helps me to see how the scenes I’m writing add to the larger whole. So… I get fewer writer’s blocks and blank-page jitters.

5) It’s easy. If I’m writing on my computer and I want to go somewhere to write, I have to lug my laptop along. And consequently worry about it every time I’m not using it. When I’m hand writing a draft, it’s as easy as dropping a notebook and pen into my handbag. No one will want a notebook with my terrible handwriting in it.

I have a lot more reasons, but since the series is called Five Reasons to… I’ll stick to these.

Do you write drafts by hand?


 Answer from Tyrean: I write short drafts by hand, but not long drafts. I'm often in awe of people who write novels by hand and I keep thinking I'm going to try it, but then . . . I type. I think that #2 adn #3 are the reasons that I'm going to make another "long" project attempt at this.

What about everyone else, do you write drafts by hand?

About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:


About Misha's latest Book


First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals. 

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them. 

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless. 

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

61 comments:

Crystal Collier said...

I used to write by hand. I take notes by hand and if I'm writing poetry, I usually employ a pen or pencil, but after DECADES of practice, I find I'm more effective writing via an electronic device. (Because I type SOOOO much faster than I hand write.) Still, I walked into a stationary story the other day and pretty much fell apart. One of my favorite places on earth.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I usually start out drafting by hand - notes, scribbles, paragraphs, a few pages. After that, though, my handwriting gets so bad that I can no longer read it. That's when it's time to move to the laptop.

I do love the ease of writing by hand in terms of moving about and just taking a notebook and a few pens with you. :)

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

All good reasons. The over-editing is a really good one that I hadn't taken into consideration.

Cherie Reich said...

I have written a few short stories by hand, but I've found that my hand cramps too much if I'm writing for a long time. If you want to do minor edits when you write by hand, you could get an erasable pen. I have the Pilot Frixion erasable pens, and they really do erase. (I swear as much as I promote those pens, the company should pay me. LOL!) I think your #5 is one of the best reasons to write by hand because you can write anywhere. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Yes. This. All of it. I love writing by hand, for all these reasons, and probably all the ones Misha didn't have space for! :-)

Hi Tyrean!

Heather R. Holden said...

Great list! Back when I used to write novels, I'd hand-write 'em all the time. (Sometimes even the second and third drafts!) Writing by hand is much healthier for the eyes, too. No computer strain! XD

Natalie Aguirre said...

I have heard of people who hand-write, but I don't think I could. I write too messy and like to edit as I go. But I can see the benefits of writing by hand.

Misha Gericke said...

I'm also much faster typing. Almost double as fast. Still worth it to me, though. And I LOVE stationary shops. My ultimate splurge when I celebrate publishing or something is a nice note-book to write in. Hard cover, heavy paper, the works. :-D

Misha Gericke said...

That used to happen to me too, but then I got a fountain pen that just glides over the paper and that worked wonders.

Misha Gericke said...

Thanks! Over-editing was the big reason why I decided to do it. :-D

Misha Gericke said...

I've used erasable pens (Frixion pens are awesome), but I've found that for me the point is not to stop and erase anything. So usually I strike through and move on.

Nowadays I have a fountain pen that I use only to write. It's perfect for long writing sessions and doesn't tire out my hand.

Misha Gericke said...

Hehehehe we should start a hand drafting club. ;-)

Misha Gericke said...

Agreed. Handwriting is better on the eyes.

Misha Gericke said...

I have a terrible hand, but at least I can read what I've written. No one else can, so it's kind of a security bonus because I don't like people reading what I've drafted until after at least one editing pass. :-D

Misha Gericke said...

Thanks for hosting me, Tyrean! X

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I used to until I participated in my first NaNo. Now I'm wired to type instead. I do put together outlines on paper though. And I am just as slow writing as I am typing.

Misha Gericke said...

NaNo does tempt me to go over to typing, but then I remember how many more blocks I get when typing rough drafts.

Tamara Narayan said...

I could never handle writing things by hand because I can't hold a pen or pencil properly. I have a death grip that quickly leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. Plus my thoughts tend to come faster than I can write and I like keeping up with them. I do agree hand-writing would help me with my over-editing problems, but I'll have to find another way.

Romance Reader said...

Awesome reading this post by Misha! Congrats Misha on Endless!

Mark Noce said...

So cool that you write by hand:) I usually only do that for travel journals and whatnot, but I can see the benefits as it forces you to do things the right way:)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love stationery stores, too. And, I have a hard time passing up school supply sales of notebooks. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I'll have to get one of those pens . . . except I'm a leftie and sometimes the smooth pens are the ones that I rub out with my hand as I write.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Hi Annalisa and Misha!
And yes, hand-drafting can be fun. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love that . . a security bonus. My handwriting would definitely work that way.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for coming by and visiting, Misha!!! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I'm a death grip writer, too, but I still get a few things on the page that way.
Thanks for stopping by, Tamara!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Romance Reader!

Tyrean Martinson said...

I only write certain things by hand, too, but I can definitely see the benefits.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I agree with you. I have to write the first draft by hand. There's something about typing it and seeing it on the screen that makes me think it needs to be right the first time. (Maybe a holdover from the days of typewriters where Whiteout was your only solution.) On paper, I can just scribble away, and I feel more creative.

Launna said...

I don't even think I could write a whole blog post by hand.. first my brain is so much faster than my writing and second with computers my handwriting has become illegible.

Kudos to you though, that's dedication... I also see how you can connect with the story better xox

Stephanie Faris said...

I actually met with a woman who teaches writing workshops to kids. She makes them write by hand because she says when you write that way, it uses a part of your brain that typing doesn't...and your work is better for it.

Nicola said...

Great tips. I do both but generally start by mind dumping on the laptop. Super post. Thanks.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'm a huge fan of hand written! Whenever I am blocked, it's a fresh notebook that is the most inspiring.

Denise Covey said...

Writing by hand connects to a different part of your brain compared to typing, as you say. This is correct. There's a correlation that happens as you put your thoughts onto the page. When I think of my over-editing, hand writing may be a good idea.:-)

Rachna Chhabria said...

I used to write by hand earlier, not anymore. I have written 2 MG books by hand. Nowadays its directly on the computer. I still write by hand, but its the shorter pieces.

cleemckenzie said...

I love to mix it up when I'm writing. A lot times my ideas go down by hand and I edit a lot by hand. Misha's right about her reasons to hand write.

Sherry Ellis said...

I always write my manuscripts by hand. I find it so much easier to keep the flow going and correct things as I re-read them. I do at least three edits before I type a mnauscript into the computer.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I rarely write by hand, except once when my computer died!!! But I might jot down a thing or two by hand.

A Beer For The Shower said...

I used to write by hand a bit, but my handwriting is just so godawful, and it takes me forever. I'm way faster and way more coherent with a keyboard.

Misha Gericke said...

Write or Die might work for you, then. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

Thanks Nas. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

I wouldn't say "right way", but it's a good way to try at least once. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

Me too. For me, it's the ease of reaching the delete button that gets me.

Although I've unlearned using it while drafting to a large extent.

Misha Gericke said...

I enjoy it, which also helps with the dedication aspect. ;-)

Misha Gericke said...

I definitely found that.

Typing is different.

I've been able to replicate the same thing when typing stories, but found that unless I regularly rough draft by hand, the ability goes away. So it's probably something I'd never forgo entirely.

Misha Gericke said...

Thanks Nicola! Glad you enjoyed it. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

I find that too. ^_^

Misha Gericke said...

Hand writing has definitely gone a long way to curing my over-editing ways. ^_^

Misha Gericke said...

It's a lot faster this way, I suppose. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

Mixing things up is a great way to shake loose some ideas. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

Interesting that you do edits before typing the manuscript over. I chose to just do a planned rewrite in lieu of major revisions.

Although that doesn't always work.

Right now, I'm rewriting a rewrite because my first plan didn't work as expected. But this specific book is a pain in my neck.

Misha Gericke said...

Hahahaha kudos that you found a way to keep writing even without your computer. :-D

Misha Gericke said...

Hehehehe glad to know I'm not the only one with terrible handwriting. Mine is something close to a fly walking over an inkpad before running over a page. I can still read it, though, which is more than my grandmother can say. She can't even, unless she remembers what she wrote. :-D

Mason T. Matchak said...

Interesting. I don't write by hand, though I've done it before, and it does work better for some sorts of stories. I do a book's second edit by hand, printing it out and reading it on the paper page, making notes in pen. Everything reads differently off the screen, and I catch a lot of things to fix with that method.

Misha Gericke said...

I do that to, when I'm proofreading. :-)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I write some scene outlines by hand and all my character profiles. I did write my first two books by hand. It's scientifically proven that writing by hand is good for your brain.

Misha Gericke said...

Yes it is. ^_^

S.K. Anthony said...

This is such great advice!!! I always use the darn laptop, but on the occasions I use pen and paper, it really does make a difference and I don't know why I stop o_O lol. It really does connect a different part of the brain & I feel so much better. Again, why do I stop? Ugh, I have to write more like Misha! :)

S.K. Anthony: Are Audiobooks Really Outselling Print Books?

Juneta Key said...

No I don't write my draft by hand because I can't read and if its a lot I have wasted my time. I do sometimes write scenes by hand but immediate put them on the computer otherwise again I will lose a lot because I cannot remember what what wrote since I can't read it. LOL> Good post
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Jeff Chapman said...

I used to write by hand but it took so long to type the manuscripts that my productivity (which isn't very good) was even more abysmal. Now I do all my first drafting on my iPad with Hanx Writer.

Ruth said...

Excellent post and Misha has persuaded me. I'm definitely going to do more writing by hand. I think it's a great idea.