Monday, December 7

It was Throwback Tuesday...

by Liz Flaherty

I'm serious! It really was! Well, it was a Tuesday, anyway.

I'm a pink lady at a local hospital and recently, I worked an afternoon shift in outpatient registration. It was a slow afternoon and I can only arrange magazines so many times and do so many word-search puzzles before I get a little...well, dopey. So I had this notebook. And this pen. And, for years, the only way I wrote was in longhand. These days, I don't even take notes with a pen, but on that Tuesday, I thought I'd give it a try. What did I have to lose?

I gotta tell you, it was some kind of fun. I got several pages written on a new story. I even started a bible of sorts on the next page in the notebook.

I discovered a few things.

  1. My once fairly neat handwriting has deteriorated to the point that I was surprised, in a hospital setting, that no one approached asking me for a diagnosis--surely only someone who has completed medical school can write that badly.
  2. I can no longer write on every line even in a wide-lined notebook--I found myself skipping linespaces and indenting on the right side of the page. I never considered that white space might be an addiction, but maybe.
  3. There is great freedom to be found in scratching out that which should not be there, with no regard or even any thought for neatness.
  4. If someone interrupts you because you need to do your job, don't say, "Just one second or I'll never be able to remember the end of this sentence" because, after all, it's your job whether you get paid or not--just like writing. Also, hospital patients don't need to realize the person who's telling them which way to go for their appointments has a memory problem and they could actually end up in a broom closet on the third floor.
  5. Longhand can be as satisfying at 65 as it was at 15. Yay!
Have a great week. If you haven't read my Christmas novella yet, I hope you will. We had so much fun with the stories in A Heartwarming Christmas.



18 comments:

  1. I still make notes in longhand and find the process mentally freeing, though a true pain when my ideas rap at my mental door at 3 am. And if you think your handwriting is bad in daylight, you may want to forego writing in the early morning...sometimes the morning after has me shaking my head and squinting. Enjoyed your post - thanks for the smile!

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    1. Lol. I have a few notes like that! And then I have some on my phone that are so...strange...I don't know what I was thinking about.

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  2. I find myself writing more and more in longhand as a first draft for my books. When I input the material into a computer that becomes a second draft. I always seem to change something. There is something magically creative about starting in long hand.

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    1. I think you're right, and I love the whole discovery aspect that comes along with it!

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  3. Excellent post! I do my morning pages in longhand. Definitely frees me up and release all the tension before I attack my daily work.

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    1. I did those for a while, but somehow couldn't keep going--I'm thinking I should try again!

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  4. Liz _ i lovelovelove this post! I always write my plots and outlines in longhand, and then transfer them to the laptop. I don't make as many spelling errors writing longhand as I do typing, and I find when I write with pen and paper, I take my time ( because I can't write fast!) and think things through more. Like you, I tend now to like the white space and find it actually makes me think harder and better about what I'm writing. I was at a recent book signing and the hour before it started I wrote out my entire plot line for a new series I just started. Bravo to pen and paper!

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    1. I join you in that bravo! I was just surprised at what it did for productivity that day--and pleased, too.

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  5. I once heard the higher the IQ, the worse the handwriting! Since I've NEVER had legible handwriting (have no idea how my teachers read my work, lol!), that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Sometimes I can't even read it! With that said, I write in longhand whenever I can't take the laptop with me. I've written in doctor's offices, hospital waiting rooms, and even in church. And yes, like Terry, I seem to edit when I input it into the computer.

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    1. And I used to do that, too. I always say I wrote my first three books sitting on the bleachers--not accurate, exactly, but a good line! I'm glad to be reminded that it works.

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  6. How ever you want to do it, just keep writing. We love the finished product.

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  7. It took me forever to be able to compose on the computer--that longhand page was necessary!

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    1. Oh, me, too--and I never could compose on a typewriter!

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  8. Great post. Nice to hear handwriting is not dead! I write longhand when I fly, until we hit turbulence, that is.

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    1. I have never done that, and I don't even know why. I can't read for long--maybe I could write instead!

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  9. love this! I don't write longhand all that often, but sometimes...it just feels good! You know, until I need to *read* what I've written!

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    1. Yeah, that reading business will get in the way. But even now, nothing feels better than a smooth-writing pen!

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