So I’m not going to lie.

This sucked.

Big time.

I don’t really remember why I did it either.

For book 2 of my Unseen Chronicles, I chose to take my ‘occasional note-taking’ a step further and do the old school ‘write it all by hand in fountain pen’ thing. I laboured in my Leuch books, refilled my pen time and time again. Wallowed and complained and oh how I longed for the simplicity of my computer.

But then, like magic, I was done! (we won’t talk about how long it took) I had filled my big blue book up with pages upon pages of a story. A story I was pretty sure 100% sucked as I wrote it because it was a little exhausting to stay stooped over my book in coffee shops and lunch tables, fighting with characters who wanted to veer violently to the left when we should have gone right. I scribbled, I cursed, I wrote.

And I had one big steaming pile of pages when I was done. All done in glorious ink.

Was I done? Oh no. I put the next step off for months until I finally got angry with myself and kicked my own ass to complete it.

I started typing up book 2 in increments as my body protested sitting at the keyboard for too long. My hand to eye coordination, my eye to key rate, as I call it, decreased violently. I had to two-finger tap at a time to get my points out. I fought this book every step of the way, telling the story of Meg Thorne when she enters her first months as a magician’s apprentice to a man who would do anything not to teach her.

Then something magical started to happen.

I started to rediscover my book. I started delving into plots, finding where I foreshadowed myself or places where I second-guessed motivations and rewrote them in hastily done scribbles. I started to fall in love again.

Beginnings are easy for me but endings are the worst for me. The middles are laborious and I won’t sugar coat this. This was hard work.

But tonight I finished it and the effort, it turned out, was well worth it. My books have often been touted as ‘good but awfully long’ and I admit it that I like to get into the details or histories a bit much. Writing out by hand forced my writing to tighten up. Instead of a huge book, I had a tight book that reads fast and without the labour intensity that I usually had to write with.

Handwriting also opened me up to editing as I go along as I retyped the story. Minus typing errors, I found spots where I had to tighten up the plot more or eliminate entire paragraphs that didn’t move the story forward. I found I couldn’t do that very often due to the way my hand would cramp if I got too long-winded.

So handwriting, as it turns out, forces me to become a smoother, quick-read writer when before I struggled so much. I may do it again.

Once I forget how much I bitched about this one, I will likely crack out my trusty Leuchtturm notebooks (found here at and my fountain pen from Wonder Pens (I honestly don’t remember what brand I use but its medium weight and super comfy in my hand. I’ll forget the pain it caused me and the labour of it and rejoice that I actually loved every second of it behind the grumbling.

Stacie Hanson