Write It Sideways

10 Things to Do with Your “Write Hand”

Today’s article is written by Suzannah Windsor Freeman, founding editor.

They say two hands are better than one, but what happens when you only have one available?

As most of you will know, I have four children, including a set of 16-week-old twins. The next oldest is only 2.5 years old. My little angels keep me extremely busy…so busy that I often don’t sit down with my hands free until all the children are in bed.

But, as someone who loves to write, I make due with the time and resources I have. I may not get to engage in a full-on writing session every day, but I don’t let being busy stop me from achieving my writing goals.

Engaging Your Write Hand

Your write hand (be it your right or left) is good for many things, even when your other hand is occupied.

It can help you:

  1. Hold a book or eBook reader. When I can’t be writing, I’m reading. I still make frequent use of the public library,and read digital books on my Kindle. Sometimes I even read stories straight off my computer.
  2. Write with a pencil. Although I’m most accustomed to writing on my computer, and though my penmanship leaves a lot to be desired, a pencil and notepad are a close second when you only have the use of one hand.
  3. Type (albeit, slowly). I’m still working on my stories-in-progress, little by little, and a lot of the time that involves typing with just one hand. If I don’t feel like writing an entire paragraph one key at a time, I’ll just jot down keywords to help me remember what I want to write, then fill in the gaps later.
  4. Research. Browsing the internet really only involves one hand, which means I can research for one of my stories.
  5. Navigate an mp3 player. Audiobooks and writing podcasts are an awesome way to keep learning and stay inspired while you use your hands for other things.
  6. Proofread a story. Dig out a completed story or section of your book, and give it a careful proofread, correcting for spelling, grammar, and style as you go along.
  7. Take an inspiring picture. Many writers, including me, are inspired by the visual (no wonder Pinterest is so popular these days). Use your free hand to snap a photo of something beautiful or interesting, which will act as a visual springboard for your writing.
  8. Draw a picture or graph of a story idea. Who says story planning has to involve words? A story concept can be just as easily sketched out in scenes or graphs with minimal wording.
  9. Hold a remote control. I’m not saying you should sit on the couch watching TV all day, but times when my babies both want to be cuddled or fed,  I can put on a movie and mentally analyse its story structure.
  10. Find and share helpful writing resources. Twitter and Facebook are great places to find new writing resources, as well as share them with other writers. It’s better to engage in social media when you’re not actively writing, so you don’t risk interrupting your train of thought in the midst of penning your magnum opus.

Finding time to write isn’t easy when you’re a busy parent, and there will always be days when you feel you’re fighting a losing battle. But when you’re tempted to say, “I have no time for writing because my hands are never my own,” ask yourself whether you’re being completely honest.

Every little bit counts.

Is your write hand free? What could you be doing with it write now?