Clerestory

Dry November: Day 2

November 02, 2019

This morning, though I’ve awoken late, I’m writing this post, then I’ll do some handwriting, then I’ll go to a writing critique group in Kentish Town.

The group has been a positive discovery for me, with great people giving earnest and thoughtful feedback. But it can also be overwhelming. Last week, on six pages I submitted, I received seventy-two different comments from seven people — or at least that’s how many I was able to parse afterwards from the notes I took.

I’ve been taking a lot of notes. Last night I was reading an article on the haptics of handwriting (which related to another new interest: enactivism). This is because I’ve been wondering whether there is an advantage to writing longhand, and if so, whether it is merely that the slower speed of handwriting forces paraphrasing over the verbatim notes of typing, as some have suggested, or whether there might hidden disadvantages, as someone else said some time ago.

In many ways it has been a year of writing. I’ve typed some 598,000 words of thoughts, another 170,000 in drafts of a novel, and around 42,000 in the new note-taking system, of which some have taken note. Then another 25,000 on this blog. I’ve probably forgotten to count a cache or two.

The handwritten stuff is harder to measure, but a brief calculation estimated another 130,000 words of thoughts in seven notebooks. Most of the ephemeral notes I’ve thrown away, though there are still stacks of those around me. That’s 967,000 total, so I’m comfortably on track for a million this year.

I have noted, too, that there are things I wrote last year that I’d write differently this year.


I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.