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Do You Draft Your Work Old-School Style? Misha Gericke Tells You How

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Great points Misha. I used to write by hand a long time back. But now its all on the computer. Still write bits and pieces by hand.

  • I often write short stories by hand. It helps make the time go faster when I'm waiting at appointments. Great tips Misha! Thanks Damyanti!


  • Haven't written by hand for many years … except poetry. And that's just when inspiration strikes me on the fly.

    Got the email reminder for the April A to Z. Thank you! Ready to go with EIGHT blogs! Mine are 475 – 483 on the A-Z list.

    Two of these blogs (Simply Snickers and The Meme Express) will offer DAILY writing/blogging prompts and A-Z words throughout the month of April. The Meme Express welcomes A-Zers to leave daily comments, linking back to their alphabetic posts.

    Thanks for hosting the A to Z Challenge! Here we go-o-o-o!

  • Great points here. I love the pen and paper for poems and shorts but when working at longer writing pieces (very very slow) i prefer the PC

    • I'm in reverse.

      Reason being: I know I'll write a stunning poem in a notebook that'll end up being consumed by a story, so I'll forget about it until one day I'll read the draft from the start.

      Also, poems and shorts usually win in the race against my I.E.

  • I really wish I could write by hand, but I don't think I could do it . . . Though having a special notebook and pen does appeal to my sensory side. Maybe I could write a short story by hand but nothing longer than 1000 words. Hell, writing Christmas cards is a pain for me, lol! Come to think about it, that's actually kinda sad.

    • Hahaha yeah you should hear how my mom went on when she heard my answer to the now infamous question: What are you writing in that notebook?

      Said it was impossible. Then proceeded to argue when I pointed out my word count was at over 20k by then. A lot of people just don't understand why anyone would want to move away from the computer.

  • nutschell says:

    Hi misha! Great to see you hear. I used to write by hand when I was younger and computers weren't around. But now I can't live without a keyboard–especially since my handwriting's gotten worse!


    • I used to think I couldn't live without a key-board. Until I realized how much I killed my own story because of that blasted delete button.

  • HI, Damyanti, Hi, Misha,

    interesting topic today. I wrote about half my first novel by hand. That was years ago though. I drafted it out, penned in my characters and their traits. There were many because it was a fantasy. But now I do it all on computer. I find it much easier. Not to mention I have arthritis in my fingers so typing is better, my hand doesn't cramp up while holding the pen.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog ladies and for your support of my theme for the A-Z. I have all of two, and I think I will leave them for a SURPRISE Author on those two days… It should be fun! Looking forward to it.

    • Yeah I think one thing that saves me with regards to writing epic fantasies by hand (and I intend to write a whole series like that) is that I have this weird knack for remembering names, character traits and plotlines simply by writing them into the book.

  • Great points I have different writing moods but ultimately I like to get it all down on the computer. When i write long hand it's usually on the train. I used to write a diary, but don't tend to anymore.

    • Makes sense to me. Like all things in writing, the choice between pen and computer is a highly personal one. It works for me for various reasons, but I can see why it wouldn't work for others.

  • Wow, I don't think I could do that! I used to write a lot more in a notebook, but now I barely do unless it's to write down a quick idea when I'm not working at my computer.

  • I could never write by hand. I've had a computer since I was like 12.

  • DL Hammons says:

    I outline in pen…does that count? 🙂

  • Tara Tyler says:

    great expression of how & why to write the old fashioned way. i love finding the just right pen & a fresh notebook to outline & rough draft a new story. and its awesome to draw, scribble notes, and i make symbols for sections i add later, like seek & find for myself! just fun!

  • klahanie says:

    Greetings Damyanti and Misha,

    I often scribble down notes with a pen. I don't trust computers. My human, Gary, has a pen and paper by his bedside. Just in case he wakes up and thinks of something. Alas, the paper is blank and the pen is full! 🙂

    All the best to both of you. With everything and yes, even the alphabet challenge. Cannot believe I said that! 🙂

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

  • M Pax says:

    Misha writes a great story. Turning of the IE is a great idea. Wish I was better at reading my handwriting.

  • Great tips! I've done both, but my mind moves too quickly these days and I need to type.

  • Jo says:

    I cannot imagine going back to writing anything by hand. I spend so much time typing that my handwriting has become appalling anyway, even I have trouble reading it.


  • Great tips. I love drafting long-hand, and have a great fountain pen that I've had for years. As for the bit about writing yourself into a corner, I simply start a new page from where I think I went wrong – then I can merge the two ideas when I start to type it up.

    • I also have a fountain pen. Bought it in November because I broke the one I had before from refilling it so often. The new one is made of steel, so hopefully it'll last long. 🙂

  • Deniz Bevan says:

    I can *only* draft by hand! Thoughts and character-speech flow so much better that way. I even did a post on my favourite pen!

  • Hey, Misha. I much prefer drafting by hand. Don't have a lot of time to do anything but draft by hand.

  • Leslie says:

    I have done both. My computer has lost more of my writing than my notebooks ever had (even backup drives can fail)

    • Yeah I know that feeling. In fact, my worst loss to date was when a writing program went wrong and over-wrote a whole rewrite with a blank document. It was almost 40k words that disappeared without a trace.

      Still don't have the courage to look at that project again.

  • Lynn Proctor says:

    i really don't do any writing on pen and paper these days unless it is a grocery or other list—i am always needing a pen when i do!

    • PENS!!! You have no idea how many times I used to struggle with writing because someone "borrowed" my pens.

      Now I have an expensive fountain pen that no one else can write with because I wore it in to the way I write. Perfect. 😀

  • I've had a few stories I worked on by writing by hand. It was fun and I was always excited when it came time to type it out and see what my word count was.

    • I actually count by hand too. It's tedious work, but when I have writing goals, it's easier to just subtract the total word counts every day to see how much I wrote. Rather than adding up each day's total.

      Or *gulp* rewriting the draft to computer word for word.

  • Wonderful tips. I tend to go back and forth, depending on the project. However, I'm finding the computer has so much at my fingertips, it's easy to spend most of my time with so many windows open while I work too.

    • Yeah that's the nice part about typing. But then, because drafting tends to be more tricky for me, all those open windows are a big distraction.

  • Rena says:

    I've never been very successful at writing by hand. I've always typed, even when I was a kid. I've spent a lot of time practicing typing since I was ten, so it just feels natural to me to type out the stories. And like you, I type easily twice as fast as I can write. (I actually type a lot faster than that, but when I'm drafting a story, I sometimes stumble on words).

    • I also stumble on words when drafting. So much so that I usually spend the most time on the first draft (even though it tends to be shorter than final drafts).

  • Al Diaz says:

    I wrote my first three books by hand. I tried to do it again several times but for some reason I can't. Words won't come to me unless I'm looking at the screen. Wonder why. Great post!

    • Might be psychological. I find the lines on the blank pages a lot less difficult to start on.

      A blank computer page freaks me out. 😀

  • Oh, but I longed for pen and paper! But I banged my index finger some years ago, have a bit of arthritis in it now, and can't, just can't write for very long.

  • Good points! I write both ways. Shorter items I write by hand and novels on the computer. (Because I'm usually writing them during NaNo.) I'm not a fast typist, so either process is slow!

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