I know that I’m supposed to start on a new book today, but I was thinking about the Where and When post and I thought it would be only natural to follow it with a question of how and why.  How do you write?  Why do you write?

How I write is easy.  I talked in the comments section of my last post about how I like to write longhand.  One reason is completely kiddish: I love buying office supplies.  There’s something about a brand new college ruled paper notebook before you’ve written anything in it.  It’s so pristine.  You get to pick the color of the cover.  It’s just waiting to be written in.  I love it.

But it’s more than that.  There a lot of practical reasons that I love to hand-write.

  • You can do it anywhere.  You don’t have to find a place with lots of plugs.  You don’t have to worry about a bright sun glaring on your screen.
  • You never lose a word.  I’m not just talking about losing a file because you forgot to back-up your writing; I’m talking about editing as you write.  On a computer, I delete the line I don’t like.  In a notebook, I cross it out.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to things I’ve crossed out and ended up using them.
  • I won’t get all distracted by the technology.  When I write on the computer I tend to watch the word-count and use different font colors and highlight certain passages and use the comments tool.  Don’t even get me started about solitaire and mine sweeper and the internet.  With a notebook, I just write (and maybe doodle a little).
  • I always have a copy of the original version of my manuscript.
  • I go over my handwritten manuscript once to make gross edits then I transcribe it into my computer.  Transcribing into my computer is my second edit.  So, my rough draft has usually had two full edits.
  • For me, words just flow better when I’m hand-writing.  I’m not sure why, but it’s true.

Why I write is a lot harder.  It’s nerve wracking.  It’s humbling.  It’s frustrating.  It can get discouraging.  But, here’s the thing: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write.  I still have my first completed short story in my desk.  I put a little Copywrite symbol on it along with the year I turned eight.

You’d think with my biology background, I would meld the two worlds and do something like science writing.   But that just doesn’t interest me.  I’ve tried freelance non-fiction writing and even sold a few articles.  I’ll tell you what–it pays.  But I just don’t want to do that either.  It’s fiction–particularly young adult fiction–that calls to me.

So, if I had to choose one reason why I write I would say it’s because I want to share my fantasy world with other people.  If there wasn’t any paper or computers, I would still be making up stories in my head.  There would still be interesting characters and strange and wonderful worlds bursting to get out.  Maybe I would tell stories instead of writing them.  Either way, I think I write because I’m a story-teller at heart.

So, how do you write and why do you write? Do you like a computer or a notebook?  Have you been writing since you were little or did you suddenly get the writing bug as an adult?