Keith MacKenzie 26 letters. A million and more words. No limit to stories.

Storytelling, the longhand way

I’m now more than 12,000 words into my latest Nanowrimo journey. This is my fifth kick at the 50,000-words-in-30-days can. I’ve been successful twice, and failed miserably twice.

But more so, this is my fourth time doing it longhand. With pen on paper. The old Shakespearean way, with ink stains everywhere, all over my hands, my fingers, sometimes on my face. And most of all, on the paper.

Some people think I’m stark raving mad for doing this. Hand cramps. The mess. What if I make a mistake? And so on. People act as if this is an archaic way to write a novel.

But truth be told – I find it the best way to write. There’s something wonderfully organic about it that accesses a different part of my brain. It taps into the more creative part than typing does.

I like to think that it’s because I’ve been writing longhand since I was probably four or five, and so it comes more naturally to me. As a result, it frees up that part of my brain that would be otherwise occupied by typing. I get to be more creative.

Studies have shown people have entirely different writing habits when they type and when they write. Clara at Tortured Potato shared this article from The Guardian with me, and I have to say that I agree. Writing just feels better longhand. It just flows better.

What about you? Do you deal with the ink stains and writer’s cramp, or the eye strains and carpal tunnel syndrome? Why and how does it impact the creative process?


Four books in the fire. Dozens of short stories fluttering about. Mission: To get the word out.

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