Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Noteworthy Authors Writing Longhand



Do contemporary writers still write longhand?  J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, still does. “I like physically shuffling around with papers…”From the dole to Hollywood

Unable to afford even a used typewriter, Rowling wrote the earliest drafts of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in longhand.  – January’s Magazine

JK Rowling would stop into a local coffee shop called The Elephant House, sit at a particular out of the way table, and write and write. … in this way Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was written out longhand over many afternoons in a coffee shop and then later typed up on an old typewriter. – from Anita’s Notebook

Rowling: I still like writing by hand. Normally I do a first draft using pen and paper, and then do my first edit when I type it onto my computer. For some reason, I much prefer writing with a black pen than a blue one, and in a perfect world I’d always use “narrow feint” writing paper. But I have been known to write on all sorts of weird things when I didn’t have a notepad with me. The names of the Hogwarts Houses were created on the back of an aeroplane sick bag. Yes, it was empty – source. 

Photo: Will Ireland/SFX Magazine via Getty Images)
Photo: Will Ireland/SFX Magazine via Getty Images)

I try to sit down at about 9:30 a.m. with a notebook and a pen, and I write longhand until about 1 in the afternoon… There’s a whole bunch of reasons I’ve really taken to it. On one level, I like not being online… Writing longhand, the work feels very clean and satisfying to me…. There just seems to be a lot less second-guessing while writing longhand and that is awesome. – from USA Today

Joseph Hillstrom King, better known by the pen name Joe Hill, is an American author and comic book writer. He has published three novels—Heart-Shaped Box, Horns and NOS4A2—and a collection of short stories titled 20th Century Ghosts.

On Joe Hill’s Tumbler account Joe Hill’s Thrills, a reader asked about the advantages of  writing longhand: You never get distracted trying to send a tweet from a notebook. A notebook never pings you with an email… 

The artist Charles Wilson iii does rough sketches and layouts, which later become crisp, detailed, unique, final drawings. I think my notebook is like that. It isn’t an outline, but it is close to a rough sketch for a story that will come later… I’m working briskly and loosely, trying to capture a certain energy more than anything else. I’m not worried about pretty language, because the notebook is just for me, and will never impress anyone. I can do delicate, careful things with language in second draft.

Also, a notebook filled with story is satisfying in a way a digital document isn’t. It feels good to take it off the shelf and turn through the pages. A filled notebook is a brick; fill enough, and you’ll wind up with a stack of ‘em, enough to build your own personal palace of the mind.

Other Noteworthy Authors Writing Longhand:

10 Famous Writers Who Don’t Use Modern Tech to Create on Mashable

The Long and Short of Writing Longhand on The Booklist Reader

Five Famous Authors Who Write Longhand at

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