Monthly Archives: February 2015

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handwritingHandwriting seems to be a lost art—or maybe I’ve just lost the art of handwriting. Every time I sit down to write out a greeting card, I get discouraged. My handwriting isn’t what it used to be. It’s not nearly as attractive, uniform, or legible as it was decades ago. I often wonder, should I just type out a short greeting and stuff it inside the card? Maybe that would be easier for the recipient to read.

Despite my deteriorating skill at handwriting, though, I know I won’t quit doing it. Handwriting comes in handy on too many occasions. In fact, there are times when handwriting just plain makes more sense than typing. If you ever wonder whether to handwrite or not, here are guidelines for the times it’ll pay off:

When it’s personal. Take it from a writer, there’s nothing like receiving a handwritten note to make you feel special. A typed rejection from an editor takes on a whole new meaning when there’s a handwritten message to you adorning the page. Likewise, a handwritten note from a friend suggests she spent some time thinking about what she was going to write and then took the time to sit down and do it. When writing is meant to be personal and heartfelt, consider doing it by hand; it’ll make all the difference to the recipient.

When speed matters. For some writers, note-taking or any other kind of speed writing is easier done by hand. Many of us are proficient at typing, but I, for one, like to handwrite my notes because I’m less likely to misspell words and can abbreviate more quickly. When time is of utmost important, whether you’re doing an interview or listening to a lecture, a pencil or pen can be a better aid than a keyboard.

When convenience comes first. Writers are struck with writing ideas at some of the oddest times—usually, when they are not at their computers. Carrying around note pads and a writing tool is ideal for those times. Handwriting offers convenience because it’s always with you and it’s easy to do. Without the ability to handwrite, you risk losing a brilliant idea waiting to get to your computer.

When you’re stuck. Have you ever sat at your desk scratching your head over a sentence or paragraph that just isn’t working? You might shift words here and there, delete phrases and replace them, and then wish you had the original sentence back to start the process over. Handwriting alleviates this problem. It allows you to cross out, scribble, rearrange, and rewrite—without losing anything. Not only does handwriting help you get unstuck, though, it promotes clear thought and natural flow to your words.

Even if your handwriting is bad, like mine, it’s a skill worth keeping. Handwriting can come in handy, especially when your computer just won’t do the trick.

 

Image by Taylor Liberato

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groundhogToday is Groundhog Day, a great day to think spring now that Punxsutawney Phil has predicted its arrival in just six weeks. With that in mind, why not leap into your writing by working on some fulfilling and rewarding new projects that’ll make the last few weeks of winter fly by? Here are a few ideas to consider:

Enter a writing contest. In past years, I’ve posted many Spring writing contests around the state and nation. Take a look at my past posts for 2012 and 2013, and check the links for updates. Visit Fanstory.com, and look at the upcoming contest offerings. Or search writing contests in your preferred genre or locale, and see what pops up.  You’ll be surprised at all the options, both fee based and free, for entering a writing contest.

Start a writing journal. I asked for a writing journal for Christmas this year. It’s still sitting on my desk, waiting for my pen to mark up the pages. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I want to use my journal—as a place to take notes, write poetry, draft character profiles, jot down writing tips, practice paragraph styles, scribble daily thoughts, or all of the above. Of course, you don’t need to put a lot of thought into journal writing. The purpose is to just write, every day. Good advice to self.

Write outside the box.  Have you ever wanted to write a fantasy story but didn’t think you had it in you? Do you sometimes wish you could go back to school and develop your writing skills more fully? Has your fear of networking kept you from meeting other writers and finding markets for your work? Being a successful writer requires stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Take a class, try your hand at writing in a different genre than you’re used to, or join a writer’s group. The benefits of your leap of faith will far outweigh the risks.

Happy writing all!