03 March 2011

My Instrument

I write first drafts by hand. I love it. I use a Rotring (literally, "red ring") fountain pen. For the money, fountain pens have all of the flow across the page of the best rollerball pens, are almost infinitely refillable, and have much more weight. I can write fast with this pen, and my hand almost never gets tired, since you can be all loosey-goosey with your grip, and you never have to press against the paper - the weight of the pen takes care of that for you.

This is a picture of my pen and one of two current bottles of ink I'm working on: I'm alternating this slippy, supposedly insoluble Noodler's Ink with some highly soluble, jet black Aurora ink, which is rich and lovely. That's my WiP under there, my current short piece for Write1, Sub1.

Yes, one of my characters is called Gandalf. Not the Gandalf - this guy is a homeless bearded fellow whose nickname is Gandalf. He does acquire magical powers during the course of the story.

For me, first drafts are a sensual experience. I like to feel as though I'm working hands on. It feels more like making art than typing does. When I'm drafting, I can also avoid turning on the computer, which is a huge bonus, because I am very, very easily distracted.

My writing process is a little bit slow because of the need to transfer a draft from its handwritten form to the computer. On the other hand, I get the bonus feature of at least two distinct drafts. I find it helps me to switch gears from writing to editing if I change what I'm doing physically (using two hands, not just one; working with a screen and a keyboard instead of pen and paper).

What are your writing rituals? Any other handwriters out there? How do you make writing special for yourself?


Unknown said...

Wow . . . completely by hand? Amazing!

Anonymous said...

I think my hand would fall off if I tried to write a first draft by hand. Sometimes when I get writer's block I'll write a chapter by hand, just for a change of pace, but that is rare.

Elizabeth Twist said...

@ Trisha: yup!

@ Liz: Hence the fountain pen. It really is a different writing experience, much less stressful on the wrist than using a keyboard can be.

Donea Lee said...

Love the pen and your process sounds amazing! I don't write by hand, because my hand tends to cramp up easily. Could be the weight thing you mention. Hmm... :) I do scribble quick notes by hand when inspired, however. *A fellow crusader swingin' by to say "hello!" :)

Unknown said...

YES FOUNTAIN PEN! I have two Lamy Safari Allstars. Love it. And a big bottle of Noodler's "Heart of Darkness" and one of red (for editing) :)

I do my morning pages w/fountain pen. I'll draft scenes either by hand or typed, then (after typing them up if need be) I edit with fountain pen and type in the changes. It's a round about process, but my mind is nonlinear so it works.

<3 fountain pen love!

Elizabeth Twist said...

@Eileen: obvs I am a fan of non-linear processes. Just had a look at Lamy Safari ALlstars - wasn't aware of this particular pen. *Drool!* So cute!