How writing long hand can unlock your creativity…


Welcome to my weekly ‘Diary of a hopeful author.’ This week it’s all about how I discovered a love of long hand writing…

I’ve taken to writing long hand recently. In fact, aside from typing this up afterwards, this piece too is in long hand.

There’s something free about putting a pen to the page. As a (new) author, I seem to have spent the last two years typing away furiously on my Macbook, working on novels one and two and generally getting insane cramp in my fingers, with shoulders so hunched over the desk they feel like boulders. And not in a strong way.

Back in August, I finished a draft of the second instalment of the Project trilogy series for my editor, and I was bushed. Snow blinded from the white, bright cellular screen, I staggered away from the laptop, drunk with hard work, hair resembling a bird’s nest, cups littered around me smelling of stale milk.

It was intense. No one ever tells you before you get published quite how all-consuming trying to hit a deadline can be. You feel, at least I did, understandably responsible – you’re suddenly not just writing alone anymore. You have a team relying on you – lovely agents editors, sales teams, foreign publishers. ‘These people have paid for this,’ I would sometimes find myself muttering in the late hours of the night and early rise of the morning. I felt a big weight was there for me to lift. But more worryingly, I felt myself begin to slip out of love with writing.

So, deadline done and knowing drastic action had to be taken or I was done for, I stepped back from the Macbook and, without any conscious thought found my hand drifting to a pen. That was it. Immediately, I grabbed my coat, notebook, purse  and pen, and drove to a cafe tucked away in the Cotswolds and began to write longhand.

It was a revelation. Writing on the page, hand gliding across the smooth plains of the paper – the words, they just tumbled out. I was amazed.  I instantly felt the ice that had formed over my love of writing begin to slowly thaw.

See, what I have realised is that, while technology has its place, while it is so very essential in how we as writers research and scribe and interact, it also has its downfalls. The keyboard can lock you into a state of mind that can, if you’re not careful, sap any shred of creativity that you may have. It can, that computer, become your writing prison.

So now, for me, since my long hand revelation, writing as my way of life has improved no end. Yes, I still use the laptop, but sitting, always, to my side are pen and paper (I prefer clear pages, no lines so as not to ‘box in’ any thoughts). If I am typing and stall on a scene, I clutch my pen and sketch out some words until, eventually, an idea flows and whatever problem there was sorts itself out.

If you’re in a writing funk, if you’re falling out of love with writing – or even if this is your best writing phase ever – I urge you to do your creativity a favour and grab your pen and your paper and go do the one thing your brain and hands together were made to do: write long hand. And then, trust me, you’ll find yourself falling back in love with writing all over again. Aah.

Thanks for reading 🙂 Join in the writing conversation  below…

2 thoughts on “How writing long hand can unlock your creativity…”

  1. I always write my new, ‘creative’ writing longhand, Nikki. By that I mean poems, ideas, stories, rather than blog posts, articles and reviews. I find that the factual style of writing for articles, etc, flows nicely on my laptop – possibly because it feels more like ‘work’. Whereas, creating stories and characters feels like the stuff I’ve done since I was a kid – the fun stuff. I also find that it’s much more difficult to do the creative stuff at home and much prefer getting out for a long walk, notebook and pen (and plenty of snacks!) in rucksack and thinking. Then I head for the nearest coffee shop and the words just seem to flow. When I type them up later, of course, I will probably end up editing the hell out of them on the pc, but there’s something about the ideas flowing through the arm onto the blank page that I never grow out of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Kate. Fantastic. Sounds you’ve definitely locked on to something there that works a treat. It’s a brilliant feeling when you find a groove that suits. Good luck with all that lovely writing (and LOVE the snack packing. Essential!) x


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