The longhand experiment – saying goodbye to distractions

I sat down three times this week to write this blog. Three times. Each of which was unsuccessful.
The problem is that every time I sat down at the computer, I found something more urgent or more tempting to devote my time to.
Whether it’s emails, funny cat videos or a seemingly important business matter that comes to your attention, it’s hard to keep focused when you are on the computer.
And this is where my larger problem lies. 

The pen (or quill) is mightier than the keyboard

I have great intentions of sitting down and working on my novels, but the moment I put fingers to keyboard I find a thousand other things I “need” to do on the computer.
Without fail, it doesn’t take me long to abandon my writing in favour of other distractions.
It’s hard enough staying motivated throughout the extended drafting, revision and editing process, without having pop-ups and alerts enticing you to wish someone happy birthday or guilting you into checking your mail every two minutes – just in case something urgent pops up.
For someone like me, who loves information and learning new things, a computer can be an addictive place. I can disappear down Google’s rabbithole for hours on end, and in the meantime that book just doesn’t get edited.
This brings me to a shocking conclusion. When it comes to creative writing, I just can’t afford distractions.
Call me crazy, but I’m going to start using good old fashioned notepads from now on…well I definitely will try on the next novel. In the meantime I am going to print out my existing drafts and revise in long hand.
Yes it will probably take me a long time and I’m going to have to type it in anyway at some stage, but I’m in good company. 

JK Rowling favours longhand.
Image from

Plenty of famed writers favoured old school pen and paper including Truman Capote, JK Rowling and Joan Collins. 

And if that isn’t enough of a good reason, let me give you some more benefits of writing in longhand.
  1.  Notepads are portable and don’t need batteries
  2. It is free of internet distractions
  3. It will make you a better writer. At least that’s what plenty of authors say, because it encourages you to give more thought to your words. Many will do their first drafts and revisions in longhand and then edit as they type up their notes
  4. You will retain more because putting ink to paper stimulates a part of the brain, the Reticular Activating Centre, or the RAS that enables you to focus on the information you are writing.
  5. It’s a good brain exercise as writing engages your motor-skills and memory. 

For now I will continue writing my blogs and attending to business matters via the computer, but I’ll be picking up the pen and paper for the creative longhand writing experiment.  And maybe, just maybe I will see some of the above benefits and if I’m very fortunate, I might actually finish my first manuscript. So here it goes…

Find out more about me and my writing at 
Kylie Fennell
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