June 28, 2013

Writing is hard Ctd Neil Gaiman on writing on paper

On a June 23 episode of Open Book on Radio 4 Mariella Frostrup talked with Anglo-American writer Neil Gaiman. One of the first writers to blog and one of the most prolific on Twitter, Neil is well known for his children books and his famous commencement speech, 'Make Good Art.' So good it is that it's been turned into a book.

Anyway, Mariella asked Neil: "You seem like a very linked-up, Twitter friendly 21st Century writer, so I was amazed to read that you still work your first draft by hand. Is this right and why? Neil Gaiman responded:
"I absolutely write first drafts by hand. And in fact, in this linked up age when your computer is not just something you work on but something that your plug into the world through and the world can get to you through.  
It's almost for me an act of defence.  
When I'm sitting there and writing by hand with a fountain pen in a notebook nobody can put message on my screen. Nobody can tell me important things. I I get the urge to go and check how a particularly unfamiliar word is actually spelled, I'm not going to look up an hour an a half later when I've just bought something I didn't even want on eBay wondering how I got there through a particularly incantation of web pages.   
All of which I'm completely capable of doing on my computer. So for me I like the pace or writing in a notebook. And also I noticed in the early 90s that I felt that my writing was starting to bloat a bit. And I realised if I was writing anything directly into a computer I never seemed to delete things. I would just add things. 
The pieces grew and grew. Whereas if I write in a notebook and am transcribing it as a second draft I can find  2 or 3 pages that aren't very good. Then I just leave them out. I feel like I've saved myself a bundle of work. It's a fantastic feeling. And I'm the kind of writer who like to feel that he's making every word count."

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