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The keyboard is great for editing and most composition but when I am writing a first draft, I need to write by hand. When I’m typing, I can’t help myself from going back and fixing sentences and rewriting paragraphs. With a pad of paper and a pencil, I don’t have any trouble going to the next line and starting a sentence over. I can misspell things, write sideways, scratch things out and start over without looking back. Writing by hand can be freeing.

First drafts are supposed to be messy. It is out of the crazy side roads and digressions that a story can be born. Sometimes, I will start a piece thinking it’s about one thing, then find it’s really about a completely different thing. When writing by hand, there’s no structure to hold you back. As I mentioned yesterday, I start each new project in a fresh notebook, preferably with a reinforced back and pretty cover, and write with a gel pen so I can write very fast without smearing the ink all over myself. With a pen and paper, I can let my mind go and throw caution to the wind.

Do you write with pen and paper or compose solely at the keyboard?