I love the computer, I'm on it all the time. I'm also a really fast typist. But when it comes to writing a first draft of this book, I find it much better for me to write it out by hand. I think there are a few good reasons for that.
First, I like to be able to spread out my research and background papers around me when I'm writing. That way I can look up references, or remind myself to include that special point I want to write about.
Second, the slowness of the handwritten process allows me to slow down my thought processes and be more methodical. As sometimes the only exercise I get all day is jumping to conclusions, I find this enforced slowness very useful.
Finally, I like to lie on the couch and write. And though I see many people in many commercials with their laptops on their knees, I just can't do that. It's too cumbersome, and besides, it's a hassle to unplug the laptop. I prefer to leave mine in the office where it belongs. This also makes he handwriting process more like leisure, because the computer represents work to me.
Anyway, what I have is all my research and notes for each chapter in a file. When I'm ready to write that chapter, I take that file, re-read everything in it, then start writing. As I'm writing, I refer back to all the info, make further notes of what info I still need, and pull out stuff that I think should go into another chapter.
It really is quite a speedy process, because the chapter size is limited to everything that's in the file, so you don't write on and on and on and ramble (like this posting). It really surprised me that I was able to finish the first two draft chapters so quickly and gave me a lot of confidence that I would be able to finish the book in a timely manner.
However, each time I write, I always want to find out more about Lillian. I hope that I will hear back soon from some of the researchers, and they can shed some more light on the many gaps in Lillians tale.