1. whgoss
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    whgoss Member

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    Give me a hard copy in crisp, dried ink!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by whgoss, May 10, 2013.

    This is an enigmatic trait of mine, and while to me it seems pretentious and silly, I've decided to share it with the forum to see if anyone else has experienced this.

    Basically, I've been writing consistently for a couple years now, and I typically use Google Docs to save my work. It allows me to access my work anywhere, and share it with anyone whose opinion I value. It's fantastic in that sense. The only problem is that it sometimes makes me feel very distant from my writing and very disconnected from the story, sometimes even unexcited about it. I experience this with Microsoft Word and other word processing programs, too. It's as if the computer sporadically siphons away the fun of writing.

    When I download a pdf of the piece and print it out, however, writing suddenly seems real and exciting again. Something about holding a solid sheet of paper with the words crisply printed onto the page makes writing much more exciting and tangible for me. I'll edit the printed work like a madman, and it makes me feel very inspired, enough so to where, after hours of editing the printed piece, I can jump back into Google Docs and work on some other pieces with good productivity. It's a bizarre phenomenon, really, and I've even gone so far as to shopping for a typewriter on which to do my writing, even though I know it's archaic and inferior to the computer in terms of productivity.

    Does anyone else experience this, or am I just being a snob? :)
     
  2. squishytheduck
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    squishytheduck Senior Member

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    I've never experienced this, but to each his own:)
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I get it. In order to edit, I really need to have a printed version of the work. Even when I critique other pieces, for anything but the shortest pieces, I need to print it out in order to really absorb it and especially to make comments.
     
  4. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sort of like this guy?
    [​IMG]
    :p

    But in all seriousness, I prefer to edit hard copies over digital versions. I still write electronic though.
     
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  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as a professional editor and writing mentor, i always stress the necessity of doing at least one proofread/edit on paper... it allows the writer to see problems that are repeatedly missed in on-screen edits...
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm the same way. Words typed into a computer are just electrons zipping around. They're ephemeral. Black text on white paper is real. I always print out my drafts and mark them up savagely with various and festive colors of ink. Just two weeks ago today I bought a new HP Laserjet 100 printer, because my old printer finally bit the dust after sixteen years of hard use.

    At certain points in the writing of any work, I'll print off and date a copy for my filing cabinet. I do that partly to back up my electronic versions, and partly to keep a dated paper trail of my work in case I'm ever accused of violating someone's copyright.
     
  7. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    And partly, no doubt, because you hate trees.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I love trees. I grew up on 100 acres of them. I've planted them. Sure, I've cut many down, sawed and split them for firewood, and burned them. I've printed out reams of stuff on paper made from them. But my destruction of them is a mere fraction of the destruction caused by those who keep sending me endless heaps of junk mail I'm never going to open. Bother those people.

    I've planted more trees than I've destroyed. I'm pretty confident of that. If I were still in Canada, I'd be planting more every year still.
     
  9. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I agree with this. I helped a good friend edit her work once and I agree it's much easier to edit something on paper than on the computer!


    I've grown two trees from seed and three more from saplings. It is very rewarding. :)

    Ugh yes. I agree with the junk mail. I was saying that one day after sorting through a particularly large pile of it. My favorite is when companies or organizations promoting being green do it. :p


    I don't think it's that odd to enjoy writing by hand over typing it up on a computer. I've heard a lot of people say writing a journal is much more cathartic than typing out a private blog. I also feel that way. I don't feel like typing sucks the joy out of writing for me, I just prefer to write by hand. The benefit of using the computer is that it's much easier to move scenes around and it's easier on your hands. I love typewriters. I really like the sounds and the mechanisms I think they're pretty fun. My mom had one but it was a more modern one. I played with it until it finally broke from age. I got a lot of enjoyment out of it. If I got a typewriter now I think I'd use it for letters rather than writing because then there's the issue of keeping all those loose pieces of paper all together. :p
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to minimize the use of costly ink and wasteful paper, i print in 'draft' quality and narrow margins to .5" and line spacing to 1.5... and i save misprints and other no-longer-needed sheets to be printed on the clean side for editing and whatever...
     
  11. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Figure an entire book the size of "War and Peace", will use up; what? A pound of sawdust? Which you can buy at a hardware store, for about $0.03. If you aren't worried about that pound of sawdust being thrown on the floor of a bar or pooped on by horses, in their stalls, don't worry about the book. :)
     
  12. Bagabon
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    Bagabon Banned

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    I've noticed helps with revision a lot more when printing it out. It also seems a lot more enjoyabe to read the actual text on paper, rather than the computer. I may be wrong, but I remember reading an article that said it's more difficult to comprehend things on the PC rather than actual paper. So there's got to be something there, as I get this magical feeling when I read a printed version as opposed to on paper.
     
  13. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    I sometimes print out my novels to edit. It just gives a new perspective, and not being able to instantly make changes means I'm less prone to editing in mistakes.

    I'm very opposed to this notion that digital media is some how less "real." It's all well and good that you felt a new connection to your writing by printing it out, but, I don't think it had anything to do with it being in hard copy. If you had've brought a new computer, changed to stronger word processor (google docs is my least favourite of them all), changed the room you write in, it would have had the seem effect.

    Type-writers are redundant hipster-crack, see LordKyle's photo. A type writer slows down your writing process, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. More ideas come to you if are speed capped by the medium. You also have to think about what you're writing a little more than if you could simply hit the del key. That said; Ergonomically type writers are horrendous, hard to use, expensive and wasteful. You don't need a printed copy of every scrap of writing you make and unless you're a hot-shot author, you, yourself will have re-type the entire thing onto a computer for the publisher rounds.

    The machines do have a sort of romance to them, I'll give them that.
     
  14. whgoss
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    whgoss Member

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    I never commented on digital media in its entirety. In fact, I think it's fantastic—I develop software for a living, tinker with game development and design, and was once heavily into web development—all of which fall into the digital media realm. I don't think this is a result of some general dislike of digital media, but rather a resistance to the change of medium for writing. Not reading, just writing. I quite enjoy doing reading novels and short stories on a computer, tablet, or phone. It's just that when I print out a piece of my writing, it makes me feel like I'm truly producing literature because, as a kid, that's how I experienced it.
     
  15. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is precisely why I write crucial scenes by hand and then revise them later, digitally.
     
  16. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i always write the first draft by hand, and when i type it, after a while, i print a copy off as scribble over it in pen...
     
  17. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    I feel ya. I've been involved in some long debates on these forums regarding print v. digital. A lot of people still seem to think that digital media isn't real. That it just disappear one day. Whether an author is read via digital or print, his/her stories and ideas are still cemented in the reader's mind.

    As I said myself, there are benefits to working in hard copy. It's just a matter of finding out what works for you.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm the opposite--I feel disconnected from my writing when I'm not "connected" to the software that lets me instantly change it. When I print my writing, it's to give me more distance from it, to judge and proof it more coldly and to keep me from getting distracted by rushing into revisions. I dislike dealing with my writing in print, but that cold judging phase is probably necessary.
     
  19. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    im at the point that i will willingly hand write everything out to save printer ink (fountain pen ink is vastly cheaper, and now ive been told of somewhere to get some awesome different coloured inks) it gives that sense of reality back to my work.
     
  20. inkyliddlefingers
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    inkyliddlefingers Member

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    I'm with you CR. I write the first draft of everything by hand for several reasons including the 'connection' the op talks of feeling. Then, I do my first edit whilst typing it onto the computer. After this, I print it out and scribble all over the hard copy in various coloured inks. Finally, I revise the computer copy according to the hard copy revision. It is then ready for my tutor/supervisor at university to look over and comment upon.
     
  21. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    yep, thats exactly it, i rewrite to reconnect (that and if im not careful, my hand cramps up if i use pencil/biro/laptop for too long) and it means i can add anything in that maybe will make the story flow better, or correct anything i have missed.
     

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