I have returned to the 21st century

photo by Megan Funk (c)2011

The Regency retreat this weekend was glorious fun. I’ve just spent much of the day transcribing the, approximately, 5500 words I wrote while there. I was determined not to bring my computer this weekend, since it was supposed to be full immersion — plus indoor plumbing and central heating — but I was two chapters away from the end of the novel. I had already packed paper, a dip pen, and ink, so I decided to give writing longhand a try.

I fully expected to shift to a fountain pen after page or so, but spent most of the retreat camped by one of the windows with my quill and notebook. At night, I wrote by candlelight. It was surprisingly easy. I think it affected my sentence structure, making it a little longer and more complex. Certainly, I had more time to think as I composed because I had to pause every three of four lines to dip the pen.

However. It was also significantly slower than writing on the computer.  I also seemed to be less likely to reread what I had just written after taking a break.  I used a 45-minute sand timer to remind myself to stand up, stretch and get a fresh cup of tea. With the computer, I can quickly scan the typed page to see what I had written previously. With the long hand, only about a hundred words fit on a page and it required active reading to go back over what I’d just written. This wasn’t so bad when I took a full break, because I knew I needed to reread. When I paused to talk to someone though, the pen was still in my hand and I think I felt like I was still writing and seemed less likely to reread.  So, I feel like parts of this are sort of a mess.

But, it was a great experience and I’m glad I gave writing this way a try.

The rest of the weekend was amazing as well. I need to do a full blog post about it but want to wait to have some more photos. I did not take my camera, but there were no shortage of photos being taken.

Meanwhile, I find the overhead lights at home over bright and miss sitting around the fire gossiping and sewing. A truly delightful weekend.

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5 Responses

  1. Maggie

    That’s very cool!  I bet you have an all new appreciation for Jane Austen, writing long-hand like that while wearing a Regency gown!   Love the  pic!

  2. GNPKOWAL

    WELCOM BACK.  WE MISSED YOU!  IT DOES SOUND AS THOUGH YOU WERE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE A TRUE RETREAT.   THAT HAD TO HAVE VALUE!.

  3. J. Kathleen Cheney

    I have, once or twice, resorted to the ink and dip pen to help me get into a character.  It’s weird that changing one’s writing method helps sometimes, but there you go….

  4. Ian Miller

    That sounds really amazing (and the picture looks likewise).  Makes me all the more in awe of Jane Austen, since she not only reread, but edited using scissors and quill 🙂