Normally, I’m a handwriter. But, after my last word count contest bobber where John kicked my tail, I figured something out: For writing contests, one should not handwrite everything and then try to type it in. Turns out, when you try to do that, you just wind up writing twice the words — but the words are the same because you’re writing them twice. Yes, this seems an obvious thing, but like so many other obvious things, I’m learning on the job.
For this go-round of Boudreau’s I determined that I would write via typing. I haven’t done a first draft like this in a long time. But you know what? I’m enjoying it. I’ve found that I can type four pages worth of words (read: 1000) in about 45 minutes on the computer vs. handwriting.
This seemed an odd thing to me, because I handwrite a lot faster than I type. But when I write by hand I was only hitting about three pages an hour, and handwritten pages just don’t have as many words when they’re typed up.
Then I came across an old Prevention article about overeating. There was an experiment conducted where one group was given a tube of Pringles. There was a second group who was also given a tube of Pringles — only this tube had every 7th Pringle colored red. Turns out, the group with the red Pringles stopped eating much, much earlier than the group with regular Pringles.
The researchers decided that the colored Pringles caught the eater’s attention and therefore drew said attention to the fact that they were eating. Every time a red chip popped up and interrupted their thought process (even subconciously) it made them aware that they were eating.
What does this have to do with handwriting actually being slower in my case?
The page turning.
I was handwriting in a notebook. Notebooks have pages that you have to stop and turn, unlike computers where you can just keep going and going and going without thinking about it. Each time I stopped to turn the page I became aware that I was writing. And I thought I was doing a lot of it…until I flipped back a page or two and realized that I’d only done a couple pages (maybe 400 words). It felt like I was going soooo slow, because the pages distracted me and made me think I was doing enough, when in fact I was doing too little.
Maybe colored Pringles and page turning are good for weightloss, but I don’t my book to be lightweight. I want some heft to that sucker. I can trim it down later if I need to.
I’ve decided for the next few months to do only writing on the computer (hee hee, it helps that I have a new one too) and I’ll just see how much paperweight I can gain.
Here’s to overeating!
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.