1. RainbowMama16
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    RainbowMama16 New Member

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    Paper and Pencil VS Computer

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by RainbowMama16, Oct 17, 2016.

    I find it difficult to do either one of them for a long period of time. When I get on my computer, there's far too many distractions. I'll be in the middle of writing something and then I'll want to look something up. So Google takes me away and three hours later I finally get back to writing. But when I try to write with paper and pencil, I find myself getting lazy far too often and too soon.

    What is everyone's preference for writing? What keeps you motivated on the story when you're on the computer?
     
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  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I use a fountain pen and paper for first drafts.

    When I'm on the computer, it is sometimes difficult not to browse the net. A fullscreen text editor helps with there. There are some (like Pyroom, which hasn't been updated in some time) that are useful because you can't get out of the fullscreen window without completely exiting the program, so it discourages distracted browsing while writing. FocusWriter is one people use a lot more, but with that one I think you can change windows without exiting.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Only the computer. I can't write with pencil and paper, because I edit too much, change too much. The thing becomes a dog's breakfast in no time. As a child I wanted to write, as a teenager I tried to write. Because I grew up before computers, I was always defeated by this inability to write without constantly making changes. I remember wondering how 'real' authors could do it. Typewriters were no better for me, because mistakes were even harder to correct, and changes weren't any easier to incorporate.

    Then came my first Apple Mackintosh ...and I was in heaven. Wordprocessing at last! Of course the first couple of years there was no internet access or distraction, so that was perfect in some ways. However, the internet has also made research a lot easier, so I can live with the tradeoff.

    I don't have too much trouble ignoring the internet when I'm writing. However, I do have a laptop that isn't connected to the internet, so I have been known to go sit on my bed with it and write on occasion. That might work for somebody who struggles to stay away from the internet. However, I really don't like laptop keyboards, so I don't do that very often.

    I don't know. I don't have a smartphone and don't feel the need to be digitally connected at all times. Maybe I'm lucky to have grown up in the day when this didn't exist. I've had a foot in both worlds.
     
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  4. U.G. Ridley
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    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid Supporter

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    My penmanship is so awful that I just get angry and frustrated while I'm writing and it winds up distracting me more than the internet does when I'm on my computer. That being said, I would really love to get better at it, because it's annoying to be out and about and not having the skill to just pull out a notebook and write some stuff down. I'm also left handed so I usually get smudges all over my palm...
     
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  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I build my stories with pencil and paper. I write down every single thought I have in a notebook until my plot is done. If I do this on a computer, I have the urge to delete irrelevant information -- but I realize later that I needed it for some reason or another. So all ideas go on paper.

    But I write exclusively on the computer. I guess because I write my ideas down, when I pull out a notebook, my mind immediately goes into world-building mode instead of writing mode. So when I start to write, my mind starts to wander to future events in my story instead of what I'm currently trying to write. But on the computer, I'm able to stay focused and get stuff done.

    Writing on the computer used to be impossible for me, because, like you, I'd get distracted easily. But that doesn't happen anymore. I don't know if it's because I've created the habit or if I'm just more dedicated to the stories I'm working on or what. But it's definitely gotten a lot easier.
     
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  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always turn WiFi off – and sometimes turn it back on when the distraction compulsion gets strong enough, but the fact that there's an extra step is definitely a help – and I like to go to a specific place like Panera or a coffee shop that I had to commit specifically to going to for the sake of writing. Again, distraction happens, but the commitment of making myself go there is another big help.
     
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  7. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For the past year or so I've been writing first drafts exclusively by hand (pencil and notebook).

    As for editing I use my Scrivener, on my computer, in fullscreen mode, with all distractions muted (Facebook, Steam, Discord, etc.). Fullscreen is generally enough to keep the distractions at bay since I can't see (or hear) anything outside of my WIP. At the same time I can also tab over to my browser if I need to research or look up a word.
     
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  8. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    People still write with pen and paper? Huh, that just seems like a lot of unnecessary work. I rather spend my time writing than typing up something that I originally hand wrote. I did lose a file that thankfully I printed before my computer crashed, but that was a while ago and I just haven't gotten around to retyping it. When I'm writing I don't get distracted easily. I like the sound my keyboard makes when I'm writing. It creates a sort of rhythm for me. And that seems to be enough to keep me focused.
     
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Writing by hand uses different areas of the brain than typing and can result in greater creativity. Typing the material includes an editing function that takes place at the same time, so no time is wasted.
     
  10. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    To me transferring a story from handwriting to computer is an important editing step. If I've written on the computer from get-go my editing will just consist of changing stuff. The way I work now lets me rewrite the whole thing, which gives me more insight while sitting.
     
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  11. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    I've always been turned off from writing with pen/pencil and paper for a few reasons.
    1. The sound of wood pencil on paper is like nails on a chalkboard for me. It seems silly, but I can't help that.
    2. Mechanical pencils aren't much better and break too easily.
    3. Which leaves pens. While they make "erasable" pens, they don't quite do the job.
    4. Then, I wind up with scribbles and my handwriting is just shy of illegible (no one's fault but my own).
    5. (biggest reason) My hands sweat an abnormal amount under normal circumstances. Writing on paper with sweaty hands just isn't useful for anyone.

    Absolutely, there is validity to writing with pen/pencil and paper, but it's just not for me. I've tried, and I become disinterested within minutes for all of the reasons stated above.

    A computer, on the other hand, allows me to work without the physical problems involved. My sweating hands still bother me on a computer, but as long as I have a fan blowing on me, it's not a problem as my laptop doesn't warp from small amounts of moisture like paper.
     
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  12. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    Same here. Pen and paper seems to be for **creating** and computer more for building. My notebooks are for ideas up to and including sketches a few hundred words long, that I want to get down while I can. Every now and then I look through the scrawlings and pick something that gets typed up and becomes a proper WIP. I've tried writing with pen and paper, but I can't write (legibly) fast enough, and my hands get sweaty or cramped.
     
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  13. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I write with pen and paper then I edit on the computer its takes a little longer but this system works for me.
     
  14. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Until recently I've been writing with pen on paper. I don't know why, but it might have something to do with the fact that I do traditional drawing, so pen and paper feels natural to me. I started writing on computer because I was going to edit a piece I wrote on paper. It might be slower process, but I think it's important to write by hand from time to time. Really, I had such an aversion for writing on the computer. It's okay now. :p
     
  15. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    I write with and on everything near me or around me when I have something to say. My purse is filled with sticky notes, envelopes, bills - all filled with lines of something or other - song lyrics, words I wish would be poems. I guess I can write anywhere - which surprises me, to be honest.
     
  16. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    However, I'll use anything to write with but I'd rather write with a sharp pencil or a good ballpoint.
     
  17. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I plan the story line with coloured pencils (different character different colour) and a large artists pad, but write on the computer due to arthritis in my hands. Holding a pen for more than 5 minutes is incredibly painful and by the end my writing is an illegible scrawl.
     
  18. Anna100
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    Anna100 Member

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    Forgot to answer your other question. I think I get too often distracted by things on the internet, but this forum actually helps (although of course it can also be a way of procrastinating.) I get inspired, and wanting to write, by others talking about writing. I might think when reading a thread 'oh, maybe I should try this out' or 'okay, I better keep going'.
     
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  19. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    I love the sensation of writing with pen and paper. I find it very satisfying to write the word 'always' with pen.

    But I prefer to type when writing.
     
  20. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find it interesting that no one uses an electronic pad or even a voice recorder to get their thoughts down easily. I must confess I pretty much have given up on writing but this forum still fascinates me. A good voice recognition program would seem to be the answer, but apparently not in reality, otherwise it would have been mentioned. Back to my recurring complaint, it would be nice to have software that would help with SPAG, structure, etc. and also read back your story with different voices for each character as determined by your tag usage and maybe some logic. Alas, I am looking for "Adobe Wordshop" and a "write by numbers" solution.
     
  21. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Ideas, bullet points, snippets of dialogue, character traits, all get jotted down in my notebook.
    Writing is done using JotNotes (info posted in resources).
    Files are saved to hard disk and the cloud.
     
  22. Carly Berg
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    Carly Berg Contributing Member

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    Good point. I was surprised to realize that when I write by hand I seem to automatically hit "closer to home," writing things that are more personal to me than when I type.
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    At times when I am writing directly on my computer, which I don't do that frequently, I'll switch to pen and paper if I feel like the story isn't flowing well for some reason. It helps, at least for me. There has been some interesting reporting in neuroscience about how writing by hand lights up different areas of the brain and helps with creativity, retention (which is why taking notes in a class by hand is supposed to be better than one computer), and the like.
     
  24. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    I outline longhand with pencil and paper but do the actual writing on my laptop using Word.
     
  25. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I've written on paper, but have never used any of it. I can write fast and clearly, but I can't be buggered copying it up afterwards.
    As for distractions, the internet is only a distraction when I've nothing to write, either because I'm stuck and need some distance to solve the problem or when I'm between and struggling for ideas (now).
     

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