I wrote this essay 12 years ago. And there are a lot of things that I used to believe that I don’t believe anymore. But the substance of this essay has become more and more true for me with each passing year. Longhand has become the most productive way for me to write. And in the increasing noise and hysteria of our digital age, it has become, for me, a blessing.
“The critical part of my brain is telling me, right now, that this sentence is horrible.” I have this problem too. Sometimes it’s so bad that It actively interferes with my ability to write the first draft. Hemingway was right, first drafts are shit!
I love this post. I've probably gone back and listened to it half a dozen times over the years.
I actually enjoy writing various things in longhand...to-do lists, notes to myself, etc. The sad fact about writing longhand is that the form and ability to use it may disappear within a very few years. Cursive writing is no longer being taught in most school systems, Today's schoolkids aren't learning to write longhand, and will soon lose the ability (if they ever had it) to decipher our "hen scratches".
I love the concept, the philosophy--and the writing. (PS I typed this comment with a new appreciation for the down side of doing it...)
My handwriting is appalling and very slow, so I always write using a keyboard. I do often work out ideas and plot with pen and paper, though - it seems to activate different parts of my brain.
I did a podcast with Andy Hamilton about his book 'Longhand' at the end of last year which was really interesting on this subject, and his decision to publish the book in his handwritten script: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/andy-hamilton-on-writing-in-longhand/
I enjoyed the reference to 5¼" floppies (and you included the sound of the floppy-drive, didn't you?)
According to this typing test I just took, I wrote the first minute of A Tale of Two Cities at 74 AWPM. No wait, actually I just typed it. Point taken.
My typing speed is Dickensian.
I love the concept of your handwriting distracting your critical mind with something superficial but easily critiqued and freeing your creativity to flow right past it. My understanding is that this is also how to compete and win an underground Detroit rap battle.