It would be easy to dismiss this as just another stunt, but I see this as a trial run for this year’s Nanowrimo. That’s right, I’m handwriting a novel for Jannowrimo. No, I haven’t gone off the deep end. But I am behind. Way behind, by a couple thousand words. Maybe I’ll make it up this weekend. I managed to write over two thousand words while waiting at an airport–and my hand felt fine–so I know it’s possible. It’s now just a matter of not getting distracted with other stuff.
Handwriting isn’t something completely alien to me. On those months when I’m not doing writing binges, I usually do quite a bit of writing by hand. (I prefer black ballpoint pens and five subject Mead notebooks.) My very first novel, which I wrote over several months during high school, was put into words on yellow legal pads. I later typed everything up, printed it out, and then disposed the legal pads. Now, looking back, that might not have been such a wise thing to do as I find it an interesting exercise to look at first drafts.
There are those, of course, who will adamantly exclaim that first drafts should never see the light of day. The only thing that one should show anyone would be the final draft. Preferably published by some big name company. As a writer, I find the entire process as intriguing as the final product. I think my mindset–unlike other writers–is tempered by the fact that I also view writing partly as a hobby. I am also a realist. Oh sure, I, like everyone else, keep on submitting things and receiving rejection letters in one of those never ending masochistic cycles, but persistence and hard work isn’t everything. Success in writing also depends on talent (which most of the time, I think I lack) and luck (which I interpret as the literary taste and level of ennui the slush pile reader is feeling at any particular moment).
Anyways, back to this handwritten project. I thought it would be something to do when I’m not thinking about my day job. I have no grand, delusional aspirations about this particular project except for the vague hope of managing to finish it before the end of the month. Some people knit things and post pictures of those things online. Well, I’ve decided to do the lexicographical equivalent of flower rearrangement and post pictures of that online. Good luck reading the scrawl.
Oh, and for the detail-oriented and curious, everything is written in a wide-ruled composition notebook that I got from Walmart four years ago for fifty cents. The writing utensil is a black ballpoint pen liberated from a Holiday Inn which I obtained my parents’ enormous pen stash. Chapter one (both handwritten and typed) is posted here.