NaNo 11: Writing By Hand

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Yes, this year I’m writing by hand.

I actually write most of my stuff by hand anyway, then transcribe onto the computer. For a short or a one shot, I’ll generally write the entire thing and treat the transcription process as the first rewrite, making the first digital copy of a story the equivalent of a second draft. For longer stuff I generally let it pile up until I get blocked and then rewrite till the muse hits again.

For NaNo, I generally transcribe in a mad dash at the end of the day in order to get my word count updated before midnight – but this results in more typos and fuckups than I would get on a normal computer written piece.

So this year I’m going to save myself a half hour of work a day during November and not bother with the transcription part of the process.

Yeah, you can legally do this for NaNo. They ask you to get ‘someone you trust’ to validate your word count. I trust me better than anyone else to count my words. I know for a fact that I write something between 360-400 words per foolscap lined page, so when I’m looking at a word count I go by 350 per page and count it that way. Fill 5 pages per day and that’s my safe minimum word count for the day.

Once I hit my NaNo target of 50k I’ll generate some text of the correct word count and validate that, and then I’m done and dusted with the complicated stuff.

Writing by hand requires a completely different tool set. Normally I grab a pen, my clipboard, and some paper, and just go for it. But I’m going to end up with about 90 sheets of paper at the end of the month, so I needed some way of organising it. I feel like I’ve gone back to school, but I bought a ring binder and some subject dividers (10, I should really have bought another packet of them) and I have a 100 leaf refill (hole punched, lined, foolscap sized leaves) pad ready to go.

All I have to do now is toddle along to and get me a whole bunch of fountain pen refills in different ink colours so I can have a whole new ink colour every time I run out ;)

I wonder how many refills I’ll go through O.o

I think it’s quite interesting how I’ve done pretty much all my outlining by hand, as well this year. I wonder what that says about me? That I prefer the tangible over the digital? That would be weird, considering how much of a geek I am.


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