When you write by hand, according to Joe Hill, “The only thing you have to entertain you is your own imagination.” Couldn’t agree more. No stimulus beyond what’s firing between your ears.
I’ve also heard (but not confirmed) that James Patterson writes everything by hand, then an assistant types it up for him.
And Ernest Hemmingway–although he was speaking about typewriters, not computers–thought it important to write first, then type. But he advocates for using a pencil. I like my G2 pen.
Anyway. . .
When it comes to the writing process, I don’t write out a storyline, I don’t use sticky notes, I don’t write character bios, or any of that kind of stuff. If you need to jumpstart your imagination, or if you’re still kind of new to writing fictional stories, those can be helpful. But I prefer to just start writing. I get an idea for an interesting character, then let it start flying.
Granted, that first free-write doesn’t usually make it through, it gives me a starting point. The book I just got back from my editor started with the core characters. I wrote about people, not a plot. Once I really got to know them through little doodle-stories, a bigger idea of what happens started to break through.
So if you’ve ever wondered, Should I write by hand or on the computer?, I recommend going at it by hand. Don’t have a plan. Just connect your brain to the page and let it fly. It won’t all be great, but it’ll point you in the right direction.