Writing A Book—Why You Should Start With Pen And Paper
Sure, technology is great and all that. But we still think there is nothing quite as good as putting pen to paper—especially if you’re looking to write a book!
Because while we are all quite accustomed to sitting in front of a computer to type out a few thousands words (and even just the thought of filling out a form by hand makes our RSI flare up), there are actually some very good reasons to start your pre-book prep with a dedicated notebook or two. And just to help you out, we’ve listed them below. Aren’t we kind!
Your brain enjoys it more
It’s actually proven science that writing paper notes is beneficial for our brain. This article from Forbes details three ways in which handwriting is good for you—from increasing neural activity in certain parts of the brain (like thinking, language, healing and working memory), to helping us learn through sequential hand movements and last but not least, it forces us to slow down and be in the moment. And this type of mindfulness can spark greater levels of creativity.
You can write anywhere you like
A physical notebook allows you to indulge in your writing wherever you may be, from curled up in your favourite chair, to the shores of your favourite beach, to down in the back garden. And perhaps this is why the great Quentin Taratino writes all of his movie scripts by hand.
“My ritual is, I never use a typewriter or computer. I just write it all by hand. It’s a ceremony. I go to a stationery store and buy a notebook—and I don’t buy like 10. I just buy one and then fill it up. Then I buy a bunch of red felt pens and a bunch of black ones, and I’m like, ‘These are the pens I’m going to write Kill Bill with.’”
He also says that one of the great things about being a writer is it gives you complete license to have whatever strange rituals make you happy and productive. And hey, if that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer for 10+ hours per day, then it can only be a good thing right? (Or is that write?)
It’s handy to transport
Good old notebooks are also rather easy to take anywhere with you. They aren’t bulky or heavy, and better yet—you never have to worry about running out of battery power!
Food and drinks writer, and author, Jeff Gordinier says he wrote 75 per cent of his best selling book Hungry in longhand, on planes and trains, in public libraries and cocktail bars. And he also quotes one of his favourite sayings from E.B. White—“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper”. Which is perhaps a lesson to all writers—budding and experienced—to not panic about always setting up the perfect space to write. Just do it wherever you are, and who knows what may happen!
Less restrictions and distractions
Another great thing about a notebook is that it will never distract you with notifications, pop-ups or the temptation to just ‘check something’ in another tab.
You can write anywhere you want on the page—with little ‘doodles’ to help let your mind wander into a more creative realm and let you return to your prose with purpose. There’s no worrying about fonts, paragraph spacing or other typing formalities and some writers say they find the blank page of a notebook far less daunting than its computer counterpart.
With everything so physical and permanent in a notebook, nothing is ever lost. There is always the easy temptation to just hit ‘delete’ in a digital document, but written down, you can always come back to anything you cross out on a page. Perhaps it wasn’t so bad after all? Or it could be used later on in the book? It means you don’t end up so ‘rash’ and make a call you regret later.
Longhand writing is ace
Longhand book writing has long been a favourite of many famous authors who swear by its technique to get their words out on paper. From Stephen King to J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Ernest Hemingway, they all use notebooks in various stages of their process, with King penning all 896 pages of his book Dreamcatcher in longhand.
“It slows you down. It makes you think about each word as you write it, and it also gives you more of a chance so that you’re able—the sentences compose themselves in your head. It’s like hearing music, only it’s words. But you see more ahead because you can’t go as fast.”
And who are we to argue with a legend like King!