Growing & Cutting: Two Ways of Writing

I've always found editing scripts by hand to be useful. But getting typed words onto physical paper to actually edit always incurred resistance: difficult printers, paper and toner supplies, pens running short of ink, to say nothing of the need to plan ahead. For a while I had a script that automatically printed my active writing projects in the morning so I could grab them and go. But it was wasteful and unreliable. Each OS X update brought new trouble and I eventually abandoned the project -- reserving handwriting for only the most dire of situations.

But the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro changed that.

Now with the press of a button in Editorial I can spit out a triple-spaced PDF, open it up in Goodnotes and be editing by hand in seconds. No planning ahead required -- now any cafe table or train cabin is just as good a place to handwrite as to type.

Given my past technological cheerleading, it may surprise some how much I value working with messy handwriting and clumsy arrows.

Writing by hand mode-shifts the brain. A keyboard under the fingers makes it easy to add more and more -- the click of the keys is the wind at your back. But the constraints of the printed page make adding indefinitely an impossibility, while subtracting is simplicity, slashing is satisfying.

The blank page needs filling, but: concision improves writing.

Growing and cutting are the horticultural cycles of writing. Keyboards grow, pen(cils) cut. Both are needed to shape as desired. If you write anything that matters (school essays where the goal is length and obfuscation excluded) I suggest you give hand-written drafts a try -- with an ink pen or a digital pencil.

Long before my independent career began, I read Stephen King's book On Writing in which he showed a draft of a short story he edited by hand. To see the nitty-gritty details of how a writer changes his work a younger me found enlightening.

In that tradition, I've included below a draft of Zebra vs Horses as it was about two weeks before release. If you, like younger me, are interested in how such things are slowly shaped, watch the video, then read the script. You'll see how it isn't yet the final product and how the edits bring it closer.

Domestication Draft Page 1.png

If you're interested in seeing more of my drafts, I'll be releasing more over at Patreon.