Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Longhand v. Keyboard
Working on this Tudor novel, which is longer than anything I've written since an unpublished psychological thriller I grew, almost under laboratory conditions, in the early noughties, I've been returning to earlier ways of generating inspiration.
In other words, I've started writing new sections longhand, and then transferring them to the computer later in the day. I also rather cunningly expand and revise as I type up, so that 500 words by hand develops into 1000 on screen.
This seems an ideal solution to keeping up the daily word count, which does feel inexorable at times, especially since I occasionally become inexplicably blocked at the sight of my laptop. Association of object with activity.
It just seems nice and undemanding, kind of old-fashioned, writing a few carefully-chosen words by hand into a notebook. Those then grow, line by line, into paragraphs, and then pages ...
I couldn't write the whole book like this, of course. It would probably kill me, and take over a year to do so. Let's face it, I can type much faster than I can write longhand. Legibly, at least. But when it's cold and damp outside, as it is today, and I can curl up on the sofa with a notebook and ink pen, there's a Virginia Woolf feel to the process of writing a novel.
Shh, if you listen carefully, you can hear the birds singing in Greek.