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I'm always fascinated by the folks who handwrite their stuff on a regular basis. I think Jackie Collins is the first contemporary writer that I knew wrote by hand—seems like Vanity Fair was where I read that bit of info. My handwriting is so terrible that I can't even read it half the time. And I'm a very fast typist, like 90-100 words per minute, so my brain is trained to go that fast. I'm jealous of the handwriters because it seems like a far more contemplative process!

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My only incentive for longhand is looking less geeky at a bar. Also, easier to write on the plane! Otherwise, I'm definitely more of a computer-first person. Crazy to think about how many centuries writers spent having no choice but to rewrite entire parts of a book over and over, just to get it right.

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Yeah, I often think "Melville wrote Moby Dick BY HAND."

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I love this line here: "There is no pressure for perfection because we rediscover the religious rite of the rough draft." So true! I type MUCH faster than I can write things by hand, so I often draft books and articles on the laptop. However, because I've been traveling so much lately, and because the navigable workspace on planes has gotten so much smaller, I've rediscovered writing in my journal, and realize how much more spontaneous the writing is because NOBODY ELSE will see it (or could even read my writing, for that matter.) I've had a lot of creative spurts that way and have continued writing things by hand as a result, usually at night in a bedside journal, which really does feel more like play than work.

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"Write in long-hand: when you scratch out a word, it still exists there on the page. On the computer, when you delete a word it disappears forever. This is important because usually your first instinct is the right one. -Martin Amis, 16 Tips for Writers"

Wow Blaise, this here hit home, thanks for opening our eyes, this is something I did not take note of, but I remember I always found it joyful to keep a journal and a pencil, yet with advance in technology, you can write on the go on your smartphone, and it turned everything downwards. I will go back to my roots and fill my house with scratched out papers, hopefully to revisit them again.

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May 25, 2023Liked by Blaise Lucey

Absolutely. Big yellow tablets. Pencil or blue ink for me.

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Hey Blaise - great piece. I have started to write many of my Substack posts by hand because of the reasons you give color to here.

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Awesome! I feel that it definitely helps me think abstractly and focus more, too. One disadvantage: keeping track of the notebooks!

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May 26, 2023Liked by Blaise Lucey

After 16 months at the digital trough during the 'demic, the aspects the kids were most excited about returning to were being physically present with peers, and paper-and-pen work. The constant glare of blue light, the necessity of dancing from tab to tab for assignments: deep learning goes better on paper, for all the reasons enumerated here, and it's more aesthetically pleasing. I try to have the best of both worlds by roughing out ideas slowly on paper, then typing up subsequent drafts off the page for ease of edit. Tough to spurn the gods of automaticity entirely, but I try to be thoughtful in how and when I feed them.

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Keep them gods hungry!

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