Thursday, August 18, 2011


So I've decided to write a book.

Actually I decided to write a book a long time ago. I've wanted to write a book since I was about 12 years old, but I've never really put my mind to it. One problem is that my best "writing" comes from the thoughts I have after I go to bed, before I doze off. It's not good for my sleep pattern to get up and put those thoughts down on paper (computer), so I just "write" from night to night, never getting the words down in any concrete form.

Yesterday at school, while the students were working and no one needed my immediate attention, I picked up a tablet and started writing by hand. I would scribble for a while, stop when a student needed my intervention or someone came in with a question, and then I went back to writing. In longhand.

I consider myself fairly technologically savvy. I may not always keep up with the latest in technology, but I know how to use what I have. And I consider it a personal challenge to figure things out, to do things with technology that I haven't done before.

So I am puzzled as to why writing in longhand comes easier than writing on the computer. Yesterday I jotted ideas down for a few pages (it was a small tablet), and then I typed them into Word. Not only did the writing come more naturally, but it was less of a disruption when someone interrupted me. On the computer I have a hard time getting my thoughts back together; with the pen I just picked it back up and continued where I left off.

I thought I was over my propensity for writing in longhand when I wrote my dissertation. There was too much writing to do in too short a period of time for me to write it out by hand, so I learned to compose on the computer. Blogging has also improved my ability to write using the computer. But for some reason when I write what I hope will become a novel (dare I hope for a best-seller and Oscar-winning movie? a girl can dream, can't she?), I do what I think is my best writing on paper. Real paper. With a pen. Black ink. How ordinary.

I'm also feeling a little conflicted about doing my writing at school. Is that being dishonest somehow? It's not like I'm shirking my job or anything. I never tell a student, "Hold on, I'm writing here!" It beats spending the quiet moments surfing the Internet, doesn't it? Doesn't it?

A huge hurdle I have to get over is my reluctance to share my writing with anyone. I have challenged the Warrior Princess to finish HER book. I suggested we read each other's writing and perhaps even have a writers' retreat somewhere. (Damn, damn, damn not getting to buy the house on the marsh. It would have been the PERFECT writing atmosphere.)

I even thought about posting chapters of my book here as I finish them, but are there copyright issues? Am I then self-publishing? Does that mean the book would never come out in real pages with a cover and my picture on the back and everything? Would someone find my book on the Internet and steal it, forcing me to hunt him or her down and commit a felony?

I'm pretty sure I have no idea what I'm doing.


The girl said...

Is this a continuance to all the other pages you've written or I knew you had once written?

Anonymous said...

I think this is an incredible idea! If you're interested in trying something new look into getting Scrivener. It's a computer program that "is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft."

Andy and I both use it and love it!! Maybe it'll balance your long hand and computer typing!

Kelly said...

Though I've had a blog at one place or another for at least six years and used my computer for many more than that, I will never give up my hand-written journal. I've kept one of those (sporadically at times) since I was in the 7th grade. Ink is okay, but I prefer pencils (mechanical).

It's easy to self-publish at places like Smashwords and there doesn't seem to be a stigma attached to self-publishing anymore now that so many people use e-readers. What are you writing? Fiction? Memoir? Humor? I'm interested!