Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Case for Longhand by Linda Todd

"What's that you say?"

"You're kidding. Right?"

Eye rolls. Head shakes.

These are reactions I get when I say I write my first drafts in longhand. What can I say? I'm addicted to pen and ink. I love watching words appear on the lines. Thanks to years in penmanship class doing ovals and push-pulls my handwriting is somewhat legible. Ah yeas. Penmanship. They obviously don't teach that one anymore. I mean, we even got a grade in it.

One can often find me skulking along the aisles of Office Depot. I hang out there a lot. Journals of all kinds cause my heart to beat faster. Bound ones. Spiral ones. I have quite a collection. Those black and white marbled composition books, college-ruled, of course, are special favorites for me. Also, an assortment of legal pads - letter and long. I also go down to Books a Million to see what they have on sale in the journal section.

What do I use to put my immortal words on paper? The pen of choice is the Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball, Extra Fine, in assorted colors - black, blue, green, purple, and red. All of these I purchase by the box.

The advantages of longhand are many. A tablet and a pen weigh hardly anything. I can take it anywhere. No worrying about plug-ins for the laptop. No worrying about dying batteries. I can write anywhere - even in the bathtub. Try that with a computer and you could wind up dead. If I get tired of writing I can start doodling. All over the tablet if I so desire. Can't do that on the screen. Last, but by no means least, I can't quit in the middle of a gut-wrenching scene for a quickie game of Solitaire. Email will just have to wait.

The only disadvantage for me: I have a tendency to daydream while writing. But what's wrong with that? The world needs more dreamers.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Did I write this in longhand? Do I want "Wild Justice" to make the New York Times best seller list? What do you think?

Linda Todd is a retired librarian who is taking advantage of her free time to write. A short story, "Waylon's Trophy," appeared in Nicholls State University Jubilee Anthology in 2005. She won first place in the Bayou Writers Members Fiction Contest and honorable mention for poetry in the same contest. She is currently working on a novel as well as short stories and poetry, some of which are out in contests.


  1. I know what you mean, Linda. I used to write everything out in longhand. I'm getting more and more away from it. But I do sometimes enjoy curling up with a notebook and pen, and letting the words flow out onto the paper.

  2. Good post, Linda, and Waylon's Trophy, which I have only just read, is a great story. Good work.

  3. Enjoyed this so much. A good pen and a creamy sheet of paper in front of me is mental comfort food. An escape from the almighty keyboard. Great post, Linda.

  4. I still write poetry in longhand, but even the shortest story is composed on computer. I even write personal letters on the computer -- gasp! Is that sick, or what?

    Thanks for the post, Linda.

  5. Good post.
    I'm on the other side of this. I write mine out but the writing grade always kept me off the honor roll and I have carried it into adulthood. The Parkinson doctor told me that my handwriting would get worse and I said worse than it is now. Oh boy, are my children going to have fun trying to read all my tablets that I have stuck everywhere.

  6. I still do some writing in longhand - but mostly on the computer now since I usually can't READ what I wrote LOL!

    Great post.

  7. Linda, enjoyed your post so much. I am one of those people who love pretty paper. I write in longhand and on computer. Each has its advantage. We don't care how you write the first draft, just keep writing. You have such good and humorous stories to share.

    Thanks for the post.

  8. Count me among the longhand ladies! I use the Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen. Order them from Amazon because it's cheaper. I miss everyone a great deal. Wish I could see you and my other BWG buddies.

  9. Linda, unfortunately as I grow older my handwriting gets messier. I blame that for always being in a get go home after having been somewhere. Sigh. How I envy your retirement. My 13 year old grandaughter, Cat, is a very talented poet, (or so her Maw Maw Lori thinks, anyway) and she enjoys writing everything in long hand, while her grandmother only touches a pen and pad to take notes at meetings. Ironic, isn't it?