Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | August 28, 2011

ROW80 check-in 8/28

There was a bit of a glitch in the plans when I came home from work Wednesday evening to find my classic (read “old”) laptop had gone to that great technological recycling bin in the sky, to hang out with my Leading Edge and ALR of distant memory. NOOOOO!   Sigh. Well, I’m older than the internet, older than personal computers (*blanches*). I remember how to write by hand—unlike the coming generation of Indiana schoolchildren, who will no longer be taught cursive. What? Cursive came into widespread usage in the 15th century. I suppose it might be time to retire it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sad about it.

Sorry, back on topic. Well, there’s nothing like not having a computer to keep one from being distracted by the internet. I got out the fountain pen and the paper that can take the ink, and kept going.  I have been working on a Google reader post. Jamila Jamison did a great job describing it, so I am only adding a few personal hints. I also continued changing parts of the platform to the pen name when I could do things from my phone.

Thursday I read several of the writing sites and refined my shopping cart for the writing books that had been suggested to me.

Friday, I continued to write in longhand—it’s actually not that bad, and I suggested it on Carrie Mumford’s guest post on Sonia Medeiros’  blog as a good way to jumpstart creativity.  I also bought the writing books. I got Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone and Are You There, Blog? as well as Bob Mayer’s Novel Writer’s Toolkit in Kindle editions. I don’t have a Kindle, but I can read them on my iTouch. Man, those pages are tiny, though. I have Nancy Kress’ Characters, Emotions, and Viewpoint and Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering coming in print, but I wanted to get started on reading, hence the Kindle editions.

Saturday, I caught up on replying to comments that had been left on my Wednesday check-in, as well as finally getting around to more participants’ check-ins and other blogs I follow. I also made a (very small) public announcement to a group of friends that I was making this step. I told them my pen name and gave them my website address. It wasn’t all that big a deal, since they’re my friends, but it was another baby sea-turtle step (thanks, Amber West for giving me this new image!).

Today, there will be more writing in longhand. I’m starting to get into the groove. I will try to fulfill my sponsor responsibilities today or tomorrow, and I will continue reading.

So, I’m doing well, despite my sudden regression to the 1980’s.  How are y’all doing?  Check on everyone here.

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Responses

  1. I have read lots of posts recently about technology letting them down, it sends chills down my spine!

    I have also heard of lots of the writing books you have on different blogs, I will be interested to hear your opinions about them.

    Hope you have a great week.

    • Thanks, Em. Luckily, I back everything up in multiple places constantly–a holdover from graduate school, when I had to work in computer clusters. It is a pain, and will take some time to replace, considering I just paid DS2’s tuition, room and board for university. Sigh. But I soldier on! I am taking notes on the writing books, so I will post about them when I get a chance. I hope the rest of the week goes well–and thanks for coming by!

  2. The serial I’m writing through the blog now was initially a long hand idea I had one night. Writing long hand is hard for me because I start shortening, scribbling out words and just making sloppy attempts at words that I can’t even read later.

    On another note, I plan to continue to teach my kids cursive.

    I’m looking at more craft books too. I want Lamb’s book and King’s *On Writing*. I can’t handle non-fiction in electronic form. I don’t know why, I need that physical, tangible resource.

    • I hear you on longhand! I get ink all over my middle finger and the outside of my palm, but it makes me feel differently about the writing, so I keep on with it. I have to make an effort to write it well; it helps knowing that it will be several weeks before I have a replacement computer, so I have to ensure I’ll still be able to read it.

      Thank you for stopping by, Crystal–I hope your week is going well.

  3. Oh dear, this seems to be a reminder from the Technology Gods that I need to become much more vigilant about backing up my work.

    I’ve been switching back and forth between long-hand and typing as well. It dawned on me not too long ago that I didn’t have access to my own computer until towards the end of my high school career. Before that, if I wanted to type up a story, I had to use the family PC. As a result, I did most of my writing longhand, and I miss the experience. There’s something about the visceral feel of pen gliding along paper that I love. I feel like it connects head, heart, and words together, and it really helps to unlock my creativity when I’m feeling stumped.

    I’m a little sad about cursive fading away. We had regular cursive lessons between 2nd and 4th grade, but I always found them frustrating because my writing never looked as nice as everyone else’s. :/

    Have a wonderful week!

    • Ah, I back up constantly. In the old floppy drive days, I kept a floppy of my dissertation in my bank safe deposit box, and put a newly updated one in there every Saturday. (OCD, much? *grin*). I love the connection with longhand. I actually get compliments on my cursive, but I have to remember to keep it legible–the fountain pen helps with that a bit. I hope you are having a good week–and thank you for stopping by!

  4. I do nearly all my brainstorming in longhand! It feels more playful too me, not as fixed. I can just write whatever junk I feel like and sort out the useful ideas later.

    I’ve read We Are Not Alone, and have been trying to implement some of her suggestions. Lot of good ideas there. I’ve been reading Story Engineering but am not getting as much out of it as I expected after all the enthusiastic reviews. Perhaps I just haven’t gotten to the good parts yet …

    Have a great week!

    • Thanks for coming by to comment, Ruth. I have asterisks and numbers and arrows all over the place in my longhand–but it does feel more fluid. There is something fixed about print on the screen–odd, isn’t it? I’ll be interested to see what I think about Story Engineering. I’m going to write posts on the good ideas I find in all the texts when I get a chance. I hope you have a lovely week!

  5. External hard drive! Or a little flash drive works too. I always back up if I write more than 1k. One scene, I might be able to dig out of the recesses of my brain. Two or three? No, need that back up.

    I can’t write longhand, though it is my preferred method for brainstorming and outlining. Weird. Good job not letting the technology glitch stop you though!

    • Oh, yes, Angela–I have an external hard drive, as well as a cloud that I upload to. A professor of mine in college lost her dissertation, notes, and all, in a fire six weeks before her defense. It made me do some crazy OCD things with my dissertation, but I am careful.

      I like longhand–must be the Luddite in me! Thanks for coming by to comment, and I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

  6. My arthritic hands cheer the passing of cursive handwriting.

    The only way I can do morning pages is longhand. I’ve tried using my PC on days when my hands aren’t happy, but it’s just not right. It makes sense. The body and mind are connected. When you change how you do things physically, it influences how you think about things. I also go longhand when a scene isn’t working. There’s just something about seeing the pen trail ink…

    • I agree, Katherine. It is a very different physical event to write longhand. I have arthritis in my little finger, so I can imagine that it is uncomfortable for you. There is a cool pen for arthritic hands a friend of mine told me about–once I can do a little Google research, I’ll send you the name of it.

      As for the passing of cursive, it is harder to print everything. I guess people don’t do that anymore either; sometimes I live too much in the fifteenth century! Thanks for commenting!

  7. Sorry to hear about your laptop! I like to write longhand when I find myself either staring at the screen too long, or when I need to work out a plot in a story. Unfortunately my writing is pretty horrific due to how little I actually write anymore :/

    It sounds like you still got many things done, so yay for you!!! 🙂

    Marie

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Marie. I still write a lot, so my handwriting isn’t illegible, although I have to concentrate (but then that is good, too!). I did manage, despite the technological glitch! I appreciate your stopping by, and hope you have a good rest of the week.

  8. First, I wanted to thank you for your sweet comment last week and for the encouragement. It meant a lot. Things are going much better and I’m hoping that I am finally going to get something accomplished.

    I can’t believe that there are schools considering not teaching cursive anymore. I just can’t fathom that. What a world! I really like writing long hand and am seriously considering working on my book that way. We will see. I have several acquaintances who write in that fashion.

    Good luck with your goals! I’m actually reading some writing books right now and if I come across a gem, I’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome, Michelle. I certainly have had my time in the doldrums, and I know that it is easier to see progress from someone else’s point of view.

      I’m amazed at the decision about cursive, but there are lots of things I can’t fathom–that must mean I’m getting old and curmudgeonly!

      I’d appreciate any gems you find about writing; I plan to post about good ideas I find in the ones I’m reading, too.

      Thanks for coming by, and I hope you have a great rest of the week.

  9. dreadful to lose machine! – I can’t write much by hand anymore – old broken hands – i used to have good handwriting top of the class back in the 50’s! – all the best with writing this week

    • Thank you, Alberta. I get compliments on my handwriting, but I do sometimes have trouble with doing it for long periods, since my little finger is arthritic. Also, luckily, I lost the machine, but no work *phew*. Thank you for coming by and leaving your kind comments. I hope you have a lovely rest of the week.

  10. I love cursive, I just wish I could write as fast as I type. It feels frustrating. My computer died, but fortunately was resurrected by my lovely hubby, and I tried writing and just ended up frustrated that the ideas flowed so much faster than I could capture them on the page. I love handwriting for notes and quick thoughts, but find it hard to really write that way.

    I have heard several things about Kristen Lamb, so your post put me over the edge. I’m heading over later today to buy it myself. Looking forward to hearing what you think.


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