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Morning Pages: why by hand?

In the era of iPads and new technology at every turn, I am asked even more frequently if people really  need to do their Morning Pages by hand.

In short, the answer is yes.

When we write by hand, we connect to ourselves. We may get speed and distance when we type, but we get a truer connection--to ourselves and our deepest thoughts-- when we actually put pen to page.

Think of writing Morning Pages on the computer as if you are driving 80 miles an hour. "Oh-- wait, was that my exit?" we exclaim, glancing back over our shoulder at the destination we have blown past. When we write by hand, it is more like we are driving 60 miles an hour. "Here comes my exit," we say, well before we get to it. "Look, there's even a gas station there. And what beautiful foliage..." In other words, we notice ourselves and our surroundings. And in doing this, the paradox is that we are ultimately more effective-- and, yes, efficient-- throughout our day.

I was once on a panel with four well-known writers. When the issue of using technology came up, we found that each one of us wrote our books by hand in the first draft, even though we all had very nice computers on which we might go faster. We all felt that our first draft seemed "further along" when we worked this way. Right now I am writing a novel, and I am again writing the first draft by hand. Writing by hand, I give my characters time to speak. Writing by hand, I connect securely to what I am creating.

Whether you choose to work on your current writing project on the computer or by putting pen to page, I urge you to write your Morning Pages by hand, now more than ever. The act of slowing down brings us to real and surprising clarity, offering insights we would have otherwise missed.