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The Handwriting on the Wall

A blog is today’s version of a diary.  It includes the writer’s personal take on the things that happen to them and around them.  When I was young, I had a diary.  It wasn’t a diary per se, as I didn’t use it to reflect on my day or current situation but rather to write down some of the poetry and prose I didn’t want anyone to see.  No, the work wasn’t risqué or otherwise inappropriate, but it was a time in my life when I “wrote for me” and not others.  The diary had a lock and key, so I knew what I wrote was safe.

This diary was a physical, tangible book which contained my handwriting (sometimes print, sometimes cursive).  A blog is, obviously, electronic – this one is written on a laptop computer with keys that stick at random.  There are things like backspace and delete on a computer, versus whiteout, an eraser or just plain crossing out you have to do on paper.

Oftentimes my prewriting includes lots of handwritten notes.  But my handwriting doesn’t stop at just prewriting or notes.  I have written 4,000+ word stories on pen and paper before turning to the computer to type it all out.  This also gives me the chance to edit, move sentences and paragraphs around and make the story as perfect as possible.

Why am I rambling about handwriting?  Because I think it’s important.  Just because many of our day to day interactions with people are online, through email, or text message doesn’t mean we should abandon the notebook and pen.  I have several pages of a small notebook filled with information about my character for my NaNoWriMo story.  The physical act of writing it down on paper helps me remember it better (those who know me know I have a terrible memory and am always writing things down).

I have lots of notebooks – some full, some empty, some just getting started.  They’re good when I’m not near my computer and inspiration strikes.  A lot of the time I use pen and paper so I can get the idea out of my head and on to the page.  That’s because when I handwrite I usually don’t take the time to reread and/or edit while I’m writing.

I’m also really good at reading other peoples’ handwriting.  Ask my dad – when I was about 12 I was his personal secretary, typing out the notes and speeches he had handwritten because he’s (in my opinion) afraid of computers.  He writes fast as his handwriting can get very loopy and messy.  I can also read lawyer handwriting, which I came to learn is really bad because they’re mostly in a hurry to get it typed up or changed.

So when someone says “write this down” – get out your trusty notebook and pen and forget about the hand cramp, you’ll live, and possibly start writing some things by hand again.

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