Writing. That’s All.


I think I’m going to start writing my first drafts by hand.

I know. I agree. It’s either insane or insanely hipster. I wouldn’t mind being one of those; I couldn’t stand the beards. (That’s why I pluck mine.)

It’s just… Emma Thompson writes her first drafts by hand.

I really like Emma Thompson. She’s often the screenwriter that Dad references in conversation with me. Nora Ephron is also in the rotation, but Dad believes Emma to have more sense. I think it’s the British thing.

But writing by hand. It just doesn’t seem smart. My penmanship is a little lacking, and by little, I mean that my penmanship would make Mimi weep. (Mimi is basically a calligrapher.)

I used to have nice handwriting. It’s kind of like how I used to have nice hair. They’ve gone away. (I suspect my years of rushing made them run off.) (Kind of like this blog post.) But now my handwriting is scratchy and unintelligible. It’s something between cursive and Klingon. I always want my hand to move faster. I’ve got to get the next sentence down before it goes away.

But maybe I should. If Emma writes by hand, should I? Should everyone? Let’s review the pros and cons.

Pro: I like crossing things out.

Con: My handwriting so bad I can’t read what to cross out.

Pro: Jotting it down. I love to jot. It’s such a happy thing. It also sounds a bit like an exercise move, falling between jogging and skipping. (Which I think is just skipping.) But jotting. That’s nice.

(I can’t tell if I meant nice about jotting or about the sip of tea I just had.)

(Starry Chai.)

(I’m trying.)

Con: Typing after I write. It just seems like such a waste of time.

Pro: Typing after I write. Another editing step. Huzzah. It just seems like such a time saver.

Con: The first draft existing on paper and the fears that come with it.

Fear 1. Someone will read my first drafts and realize that I cannot write. (This someone will be a writer who writes spectacular first drafts. I hate him already.)

Fear 2. I will never be published, but the collection of notebooks full of scratch marks will follow me from home to home to my cardboard box by the bay, and spectators will realize I am a hoarder and lunatic and will begin throwing me old bread.

Fear 3. My handwriting will be analyzed by future machines that can identify psychological disorders in one letter. (If alive, see Fear 2. If dead, my good name!)

Fear 4. My children will read the first drafts and believe that my handwriting directly correlates with my abilities as a mother.

Pro: I don’t need a computer for the first couple drafts.

Con: How will I casually do internet shopping while writing? (Oh… maybe this is a pro.)

Pro: Emma Thompson does it, and if you can’t get behind the sensibilities of Ms. Thompson, can you even believe in anything uh-tahl?

“Just write because you can dive in later… You’ve got to create your raw material first. Do the knitting… It’s spinning the wool… If you’ve got nothing to work on, then it’s neither bad nor good; it’s just nothing. So just write. It doesn’t matter what you write. It does not matter… Just drawing the chair up to the writing desk and writing. Writing. That’s all. It’s the only thing that works for me.”  –Emma Thompson

4 thoughts on “Writing. That’s All.

  1. Emma has a common sense approach to doing anything well. If you want to get better a something just set aside time each day to just do it. The only difference between speaking well and writing well is that the latter leaves a permanent record of your brilliance. Keep writing. Love you

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