Writing technology

09 Feb


What do you use to write?

For most people the answer is simple.  They type their stories and poems on their PC.  Or, more likely these days, their I-Pad or slate or some such thing. (I met a man a few years ago who wrote me under the table at NaNoWriMo typing his whole novel on his cell phone.)

So why do some of us still insist on writing everything by hand?

Simple.  We are stubborn.

Or maybe that was just me.

But in all seriousness, there are a number of advantages to writing by hand.  I have shared this before, but I like it because:

1. It helps me to think.  Sometimes when I am typing too fast, I get ahead of myself.  I forget where I was going, or hit a blank spot.  My hands are too quick for my subconscious mind.  With a pen, I can write as fast as I can and still have new ideas straining at my fingertips waiting for me to finish my sentence so they can burst onto the page.

2. It is fun.  I use a computer all day at work.  I sit behind one typing and reading and printing and re-reading and re-printing.  I get tired of computer screens and printouts.  Pulling out a notepad and a pen, and writing the old-fashioned way… that is cool.  That is fun.  That is writing.  Not work.

3. It is cool.  Seriously.  Do you know how cool you feel when you are sitting at a coffee shop, or in a restaurant, or on a bench, writing in a notebook?  It is an awesome opportunity to look and feel like a real writer.  (If you add a brown leather satchel and a writing book on the table, it increases your cool points by like 1000%.

4. It saves time.  With technology I have to carve out time to write.  With a notepad I can write wherever I am, whenever I want.  I write in queues, I write in traffic jams, I write wherever the mood takes me.  I am not restricted to a desk or writing corner, I can be a writer at the drop of a hat.

5. I like pens.  Deal with it.

6. It engages the senses.  Writing is supposed to be sensual.  I always try to look at each page I write, and ask “Which of my reader’s senses were engaged by that?  Did they hear something?  Feel something?  Taste something?”  In the same way, holding a pen in your hand, and drawing it across paper is a feast for your senses.  You get the satisfaction of watching the words appear; the sound of the pen nib scratching out the words, and the feel of the weight of the pen.  If you really get into it, you can even smell the ink and paper.  (Trust me, it smells better than electricity.)  You could also taste it if you put the pen in your mouth to think, but that is not something I suggest.  (Even though I do it when I am distracted.)

So I really love writing by hand.  It makes me feel like a writer, not just a secretary.

How do you write?  Have you ever tried writing by hand?

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Ponderings


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