1. henmatth
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    henmatth Member

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    Do you use pen, pencil, typewriter, or keyboard when writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by henmatth, Jan 31, 2013.

    I prefer pen and paper- something nice about having to slowly think through each word, and actually write it down. But I was wondering how other people write, and why they choose to use the tecnique they do? Do you have a reason for using a specific utensil, or is it merely convenience (whatever's closest in reach or readily available)?
     
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  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'll use anything. I actually prefer pen and paper, but I'm not obsessive about it. I'll use a computer if it's convenient. Somewhere on this forum I once posted an 800-word essay on why pen and paper is the best word processor ever invented, but I don't remember where. There are several threads similar to this, and it's in one of those.
     
  3. Traviud
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    Traviud New Member

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    I'll use anything that's handy if I need to jot an idea down, but I spend so much time online I usually have Word open anyway, and I find it a great deal easier to fine-tune sentences there than writing out each alternate possibility by hand. But I'm sure you have all heard the arguments for word processors being more convenient; I'm curious to hear more from the pen and paper writers. I've never tried writing anything extensive in that format, so I should probably experiment with it.
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer to use pen and paper for the earliest stages in a project. I'll handwrite all of my research because I find I take the information in better that way (maybe because the pace is slower). I also handwrite a lot of my planning work; this usually ends up as a mess of scribbles and coloured arrows pointing off to the margin/connecting points.

    The story itself will be typed. I was considering handwriting my current story, but I've a deadline to meet so I don't think it's really the most practical time to test it.
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I use pen and paper for the initial idea till I have a fairly reasonable story outline, then I write the actual first draft on the computer, as I usually check for spelling errors and badly-worded sentences even then, so a computer is required to make it less...messy. :)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    pen/paper and laptop... and anything else that's handy, when something pops up in my mind and needs to be jotted down before i forget it...
     
  7. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I use a word processor basically because my spelling is abysmal - yes I had to spell check that. :D Also if I use a pen or pencil (I am very heavy handed) my hand aches after a hour or so, so the laptop is my preferred writing aid. Apart from the fact if I type fast, I can figure out what I was getting at but if I write long hand it turns into a squiggle or a straight line - confusion ensues.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I dug up the little essay I mentioned above. Might as well repost it here:

    I write either with computer (Microsoft Word) or with a pen. The pen and a notebook comprise the best word processor ever invented.

    Of course, like everybody else, I type much faster than I can write by hand. In my case, that’s irrelevant. I’m not one of those geniuses who can write good prose at typing speed – about 98% of my writing time is spent staring off into space thinking about what the next sentence or phrase should be, not actually setting it down on the page. My writing speed is definitely not limited by the speed at which I get the words down; it’s limited by the speed at which I can think of the words, and that speed is not very high. So it really doesn’t matter, speedwise, whether I use a computer or a pen.

    One of the major benefits of writing by hand is that the user interface, so to speak, is very free-form. I cross out words I don’t like, but as another poster said, never enough that I can’t read them after. So all “mistakes” and corrections are always visible. Sometimes when I can’t decide which of three or four words to use, I’ll write them in small print in a column where the final choice should go in the manuscript so that I can choose from them later. I can add new paragraphs by writing at right angles to the normal text in the margins. If I have to insert a large amount of text, I put a red circled A (or other letter) where the insert goes, and write the insert on the reverse side of the page. If I favor one version of a sentence over another at the time of initial composition, I write both down with the favorite written larger. I use several colors of pen and each color has a different purpose. Some people who do this kind of thing wind up complaining that their manuscript looks like a mess, and that’s why they prefer using a computer, but I think my pages look kind of like works of art in themselves, and they’re certainly a better record of my thought processes than any computer-written page.

    Another benefit of using a pen is that I get immediate psychological feedback from doing it. I can tell by the look of my handwriting, and by how my hand feels as I write it, how I’m feeling at the moment, and I can use that information as I write. I can, to a certain extent, play myself into and out of moods with my guitar; I can do the same with handwriting. I get a little of the same kind of feedback when I write by computer, but nowhere near as intensely, and the effect is only there as I’m actually writing – I can’t look at the results the next day and see what kind of mood I was in because the computer text looks the same no matter what I was feeling like when I wrote it.

    Lastly, there’s the pure physical pleasure I get from writing by hand. When I’m playing a synthesizer, I’m keenly aware that my fingers are on plastic keys and the sound emerges from a speaker separated from my fingers by a long chain of transducers, electronic hardware, and digital signal processing software. There’s no connection between me and the music. When I’m playing guitar, my fingers are touching the strings that are vibrating and producing the sound, and I feel very physically connected to the music. The same thing happens with writing by hand – I feel connected to the words in a way I never do when typing on a keyboard. I’ve never tried to quantitatively measure whether that affects my prose at all – whether or not my sentences are longer or shorter one way or another, or whether I use more metaphorical imagery, or whatever – but after an hour of writing by hand, I feel like I’ve been doing an artist’s work, whereas after an hour of typing, I feel like I’ve just been, well, typing.

    Oh, one more thing (so the previous paragraph shouldn’t have started “Lastly”, I guess): Obviously, I can’t submit a handwritten manuscript to anybody, so when I’m writing by hand, I know that I’ll be typing the work into a computer at a later time. It may be that the knowledge that what I’m writing isn’t the “final” version, that I’ll have another pass to make corrections and rewrites, makes me freer during the composition to experiment, maybe, or just to be a bit more adventurous in my choices of words, images, and rhythms, than I would be if I thought I might be working on a “final” version.

    So there it is: about 800 words on why I like writing with a pen, all written on a computer.
     
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  9. NellaFantasia
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    NellaFantasia Member

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    If I want to get a lot of writing done, I'll use a computer. If I want to think through what I'm doing and write very little, I'll use a pen and paper (but always colored pens. I love colored pens). I'm a professional procrastinator, so I use programs on the computer to force me to write or else I'd never get anything done. With pen and paper, it gives me a lot of excuses to sit around and not write at all. Which is a shame because I'd love to write a full manuscript on paper. If I ever find myself disciplined enough to do so, I'll make it one of my goals.
     
  10. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I use pen and paper then i edit the story on my computer.
     
  11. Mikewritesfic
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    Mikewritesfic Senior Member

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    I use a pen and legal pads for my rough draft. Revised and final copies are typed on my laptop.
     
  12. AchiraC
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    AchiraC Member

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    It depends on what I'm doing. Plotting, developing settings, and working out ideas I like to do with pen or pencil and paper, because I like to be able to visually space things on a sheet of paper. Certain things are easier for me to understand and work with when I can make a visual representation of them.

    When I'm writing a scene, I prefer a keyboard. I type faster than I can write. In general, I need that speed to keep up with my brain. If I use pen and paper, words tend to flow together and I either can't recognize what I wrote later on, or I lose the flow of inspiration because I need my brain to slow down so I can actually form the proper words.
     
  13. PenTrotter
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    PenTrotter Member

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    It depends, If Im doing idea writing for concepts, outlines, and that kinda thing, I tend to lean towards pen and paper, but if im typing up an actual story and not just jotting things down, I prefer my old laptop. I just lovwe the speed of the keyboard, lets my brain flow fast as it can type.
     
  14. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I use pen and legal drafts for the outlines and notes and stuff, as well as the basic writing, but the text i almost always write on my computer. Over the years i found that using only pen and paper is inefficient backup-wise and a computer makes editing like 100 times easier.
     
  15. Nameless Wildflower
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    Nameless Wildflower Banned

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    I like to write laying down or with my feet up so anything that can allow me to do that is what I prefer to write with.
     
  16. primalpeace
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    primalpeace Member

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    I use a keyboard and a program made for publishing and writing books.
     
  17. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Computer. The reasons are twofold: aesthetic and pragmatic. I think Times New Roman, in measured increments, is much more visually pleasing than my handwriting which can be somewhat messy. It's also much easier to edit, transfer, and make multiple copies from my computer. That, and having people unable to decipher my writing, which is counterproductive to writing, make me choose computers any day of the week.
     
  18. Revenant
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    Revenant Member

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    Normally I write the first draft on paper and edit it on my computer later. I only have a laptop and I don't have constant access to a reliable power source, so I have to be sparing with my battery power and I can't dawdle with my writing, trying to come up with ideas. So it's more convenient to have something prepared before hand. I also find that I write better if I've already got something to bring to my computer and improve on, since I find Word a lot more flexible than a piece of paper, as far as altering sentences and paragraphs go. You don't end up with a big jumble of asterisks.
     
  19. swifteye12
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    swifteye12 New Member

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    I prefer to write on a computer as I used Scrivener and find it invaluable to be able to move between scenes seamlessly as my brain jumps around. I can also type about as fast as I think so when I'm on a roll it's ideal--otherwise I tend to forget things.

    But when I'm starting something new, brainstorming, or working on a writing prompt, I do prefer a pen and paper. There's just something about it. My hand definitely cramps with my favorite pen, though, and long ago I started writing in a hybrid print-cursive hand that others have a very hard time reading, which limits the amount I can share my writing with my brother, with whom I tend to collaborate. Kind of irritating.

    I can also hand-write at work and make it look like I'm taking notes. I worry that the IT dept has a keystroke tracker on my computer.
     
  20. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    My laptop sitting crosslegged on my bed.
    However when I'm out and about - I take notepads with me. I'm usually the passenger in a car so I
    can jot down scenes make observations etc.
    When I was younger - I used to use a pen and paper on a clipboard. Then I got a typewriter
    which I hated because it was noisy and I could never space everything accordingly. Plus,
    my typewriter drank inkcartridges like an ink-a-holic.
     
  21. niallohagan
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    niallohagan Member

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    I usually start with pen and paper and then transfer to word
     
  22. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    I have used all in my time actually (and i am a modern-day sixteen-year old with surprising access to typewriters) i started typewriting, then switched to hand and from that to keyboard. Out of all, i'd say keyboard is my fav for corrections but hand writing is good for stories that are just blooming in my mind.
     
  23. Garfiun
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    Garfiun Member

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    I will start out on pen and paper but then I will move onto the laptop to actually write the body of the novel out.
     
  24. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    Laptop. I think I would like to use pen and paper, but my hand cramps from the writing, plus my handwriting is not exactly...attractive? I was never really shown how to form my words all that much, though a number of my friends certainly seem to have been shown, and I hold my pen/pencil between thumb and forefinger - I have no idea why I started writing like that, but I've done it for so long that I've stuck to holding it that way.

    Generally when I'm scribbling down ideas I'm trying to write at a hundred miles and hour and my hand can't keep up, so I end up having trouble actually reading what I've got on paper. I have a similar problem in history, where my teacher takes us through information faster than lightning and I have to write furiously to keep up and the notes prove largely useless for a bit until I manage to translate the jumbled mess on the page.

    When I'm writing on a keyboard I can write fast and everything still looks okay and you can actually read what I've have written. For when I'm coming up with ideas during brainstorming and the like I do use pen and paper to quickly jot down what I'm thinking about. For the laptop I usually use notepad to put down my brainstorming and
    word is for when I actually write scenes and larger blocks of information - I fear I have too much of the latter and not enough of the former right now.
     
  25. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    I'm always computer. The idea of doing a novel completely with pen and paper terrifies me because I'm a claustrophobic worker. I do scribble my ideas down a lot though. When I plan out a comic I don't even write anything first. I choreograph the actions and panels of each page with proper room for bubbles and then come back its all done an type up the artists notes and content.
     

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