The delete key is so seductive.” –Kristin Hannah
This was my favorite and most thought-provoking quote from author Kristin Hannah’s talk last week at North Central College.
Hannah writes all her novels long-hand, to avoid using this tempting key. She said that it’s easy for a writer to complete nothing in a sitting, since some will keep deleting what isn’t “perfect”.
Hannah is one of my favorite authors. Some of her books include Firefly Lane, The Great Alone, Nightingale, and The Four Winds. Her books are unforgettable, but not always easy to read, with the time periods and subject matter that she writes about. Warm and engaging, Hannah also said that she doesn’t like writing the first draft. She likes making it better in the next 3-4 re-writes.
As someone who does a fair amount of writing, I find it fascinating to learn about the artists’ process.
Interestingly, I heard Joyce Carol Oates in her online MasterClass discuss a different way to avoid over-using the delete key. She recommended writing an entire essay or chapter all the way through, then editing it. Get your thoughts down, then modify as needed.
Oates suggested doing this whether writing in longhand or by computer. As a left-handed writer, I find it much quicker to write by computer than by hand.
I will need to practice writing without using the Delete key.
The journey continues. Cindy