Do contemporary writers still write longhand? J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, still does. “I like physically shuffling around with papers…” – From the dole to Hollywood
Unable to afford even a used typewriter, Rowling wrote the earliest drafts of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in longhand. – January’s Magazine
JK Rowling would stop into a local coffee shop called The Elephant House, sit at a particular out of the way table, and write and write. … in this way Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was written out longhand over many afternoons in a coffee shop and then later typed up on an old typewriter. – from Anita’s Notebook
Rowling: I still like writing by hand. Normally I do a first draft using pen and paper, and then do my first edit when I type it onto my computer. For some reason, I much prefer writing with a black pen than a blue one, and in a perfect world I’d always use “narrow feint” writing paper. But I have been known to write on all sorts of weird things when I didn’t have a notepad with me. The names of the Hogwarts Houses were created on the back of an aeroplane sick bag. Yes, it was empty – source.
I try to sit down at about 9:30 a.m. with a notebook and a pen, and I write longhand until about 1 in the afternoon… There’s a whole bunch of reasons I’ve really taken to it. On one level, I like not being online… Writing longhand, the work feels very clean and satisfying to me…. There just seems to be a lot less second-guessing while writing longhand and that is awesome. – from USA Today
Joseph Hillstrom King, better known by the pen name Joe Hill, is an American author and comic book writer. He has published three novels—Heart-Shaped Box, Horns and NOS4A2—and a collection of short stories titled 20th Century Ghosts.
On Joe Hill’s Tumbler account Joe Hill’s Thrills, a reader asked about the advantages of writing longhand: You never get distracted trying to send a tweet from a notebook. A notebook never pings you with an email…
The artist Charles Wilson iii does rough sketches and layouts, which later become crisp, detailed, unique, final drawings. I think my notebook is like that. It isn’t an outline, but it is close to a rough sketch for a story that will come later… I’m working briskly and loosely, trying to capture a certain energy more than anything else. I’m not worried about pretty language, because the notebook is just for me, and will never impress anyone. I can do delicate, careful things with language in second draft.
Also, a notebook filled with story is satisfying in a way a digital document isn’t. It feels good to take it off the shelf and turn through the pages. A filled notebook is a brick; fill enough, and you’ll wind up with a stack of ‘em, enough to build your own personal palace of the mind.
Other Noteworthy Authors Writing Longhand:
The Long and Short of Writing Longhand on The Booklist Reader
Five Famous Authors Who Write Longhand at Pencils.com