Writing By Hand

There’s something magical about writing by hand. The gentle slope of your writing as the words form beneath your hand, the indelible mark of your thoughts on the page. A screen cannot equal that. You cannot crumple the screen up in frustration and hurl it across the room, you cannot tear it up in impotent rage. Not unless you have a lot more money than me and no objections to picking glass up out of the carpet.

I found an old notebook this evening with half the pages torn out. I remember the diary I kept on those pages, I remember why I destroyed them. Would it ever have felt as satisfying to simply “Select All” and “Delete.”


Would I still have remembered the thoughts I confided to those pages?


The more digital my life becomes, the more I cling to my notebooks. I cannot take notes on my computer. I need to see a task written on a page and draw a thick, black line through it once it is done. I cannot start a story on the screen, it has to begin on a notebook’s blank page. It will get crossed out and annotated, but eventually it will grow strong enough to live a digital life.

Writing by hand

My grandmother kept tiny little diaries into which she recorded the little things that happened during the day. Not thoughts, not emotions, just events. But I have twenty of those little books in a box in my basement. They’re a part of her that she has left behind for us, just like my great-grandmother’s cookbook that is stuffed with handwritten recipes I cannot even identify. I have old notebooks filled with my utterly embarrassing teenage poetry, old manuscripts with countless handwritten annotations. They are proof that I wrote those things. Those are my words on the page, the particular slant to my letter “d”, the diary I kept the year I worked in France.

I have a short story to write but it will not come to life on screen. I have tried and deleted and wrung my hands in frustration. So tonight I’m opening the old notebook with half the pages torn out, and writing it out by hand. As I look across at the snow-covered field outside my window, I know I can the words onto the page.

When it gets darker, I can even see the stars.

I never see those in the city.

Author: Eva O'Reilly

Writer, avid reader, large dog lover, cake baker and Francophile. Living in hope of finding either a literary agent or a large audience on Amazon.

4 thoughts on “Writing By Hand

  1. Cool post ❤

    I don't really like the physical act of "writing" but I just can't let go of my old notebooks…. the first essay I got five stars on, the diary with my first short story scribbled on… I've hoarded it all! And whatever I haven't, a friend has (the other day she sent me a snap of this letter I wrote her as part of some class activity I don't even remember).

    Liked by 1 person

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