And the final rule from my youth that I am continually ignoring in my fiction writing job is the critical importance of neat handwriting. I must apologize here to any and all of the teachers that I’m offending with this remark. I’m certainly not advocating sloppy, careless work. When I was in school, however, the emphasis on handwriting was impressive. Long hours were devoted to copying line after line of letters. Important. I get it. One needs to know how to churn out the proper penmanship and letter formation. I’m just saying handwriting and good writing are not synonymous. Writers can produce the most beautiful handwritten pieces ever, but that doesn’t make it quality writing. Not to mention the fact that most people don’t hand write pieces anymore anyway.
What? I can hear folks saying. How can you imply that neat handwriting is unimportant? I’m not, but I’m saying that when one is drafting, caught up in that creative cyclone that I mentioned earlier in the week, it’s okay to be a bit less meticulous. If you saw my notes and pre-drafting work, you would despair (as I’m sure my elementary teachers did.) Know what? When it’s time to turn in the draft, it will be a neat, typed computer file. I never did please any of my teachers with my penmanship, though they gave it a valiant shot by having me practice until my hand cramped. The purpose of writing is not solely to be visually pleasing. It’s to move people and share a world view. If the loops and curves aren’t quite perfect, I’m willing to deal with it.