1. Darkcula
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    Darkcula Member

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    Pen or Laptop, which one to use for better creative writing?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Darkcula, Jun 14, 2015.

    I think that when we perform in old fashioned style- ink on paper, we somehow release more insight and thoughtfulness into our composition. Relatively, while using a laptop, our creativity gets affected a bit. That's what happened with me It seems. I observed this phenomenon by comparing two separate pieces of my writing and the evident made me :D:DTYPE:D:D this post.

    HOWEVER,
    There's one mighty advantage that the Macbook has over the Parker- We can improvise on our content without a hassle. Imagine, Shakespeare plucking his hair while having to write with a quill (I guess, the ink pot might have spilled too damn much on such horrible nights :twisted:)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2015
  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pen and paper is way too slow to keep up with my thoughts if the text is to be legible. Plus it would still have to be translated to electronic format for publishing. The act of writing doesn't affect my creativity, which takes place before I write, not during.
     
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  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Yeah, I think it's just a matter of what works for you, there's no universal Right Way To Do It. Some people are going to prefer a pencil in a spiral notebook, some a pen in a moleskine, some a typewriter, and just within those who prefer their computer there's varying opinions on the best word processor. Like Bryan, I can't write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts - I'll end up linking words and whole sentences together because cursive was the worst thing to ever happen to my handwriting, hahah. But I grew up using computers so obviously I'm very comfortable with a keyboard.

    Plus it makes editing, sharing, and submitting much easier, which I'm a big fan of since I'm mega lazy - I had no laptop for about a month at the start of this year and I kept writing in notebooks but transcribing was so tedious. Would not recommend.
     
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  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I read a report on a study a while back that postulated people were more creative when writing with a pen or pencil. I know in my personal case my writing flows better when I do my writing longhand. The article pointed out that the motions required to write letters with a pen cause different areas of the brain to fire than does typing. There was also a study that said when you're taking notes (such as in class) you learn more if you're doing it longhand, than if you're typing on a laptop. The process of writing just seems to more fully engage the brain than the process of typing.
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    One need only look at the hundreds of little scraps of paper with story ideas all over my desk without a remote semblance of organization to see that I can't function without a word processor. :bigconfused:
     
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  6. Rainer
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    Rainer Member

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    Word processor all the way. My handwriting looks like a drunk person tried to draw hieroglyphics with their feet.
     
  7. Vrisnem
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    Vrisnem Member

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    I find writing by hand frustrating when working on the actual draft. I feel like my terrible handwriting has an impact on how I interpret the work. 'My writing is a mess, so the content must be awful too.' I also have a habit of obsessively editing what I write (even with texts and posts) so having the ability to hit back space rather than constantly striking out words makes things easier too.

    However, I do find handwriting a great way to shake things up when I'm struggling to get the words to flow. I also do most of my planning work by hand via scribbled graphs and index cards (god bless The Board) as I find it easier to put ideas together when I can see them presented visually.
     
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  8. Rhys
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    Rhys Member

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    I wouldn't even dream of hand writing ever again. Not only do I have horrible handwriting, it's way too slow! In fact, I dread the idea of writing without a keyboard. I don't even want to think how much longer it would have taken me to write what I have.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Works for me as well. If I'm writing on my computer, which isn't all that often, and I'm getting stuck or losing my feeling of inspiration and/or creativity, I switch to my fountain pen and some nice paper. Never fails to solve the issue.
     
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm another one who switches to paper when I'm stuck. Not for actual writing, but brainstorming and drawing charts and scribbling words down in clumps or whatever else is needed. I don't know if it's the writing itself or just that it's less linear, more graphic than typing. But it's usually a good way to kick things into gear when the computer isn't working for me.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think the motor skills you invoke when you're writing by hand, or drawing, or whatever, that require the actual movement of a writing instrument across a page, just requires use of different brain centers, and at least for me those centers appear to be more creative. Writing, drawings, painting, etc. all require to some degree similar types of hand movements that must be impacted in someway by creative centers of the brain.
     
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  12. RevGeo
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    RevGeo Member

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    After spending the last 45 years playing guitar for a living, my hands are toast. I can't write two pages long hand without my right hand cramping. I don't like using a lap top. I learned to type on a real typewriter and the technique doesn't lend itself to a lap top very well. At least not for me. I write on an older Dell desk top that I use strictly as a word processor. I can type rapidly on that machine. I can't on a lap top.
    I don't think my creativity is influenced by the writing tool I use. I do know however, that I love being able to zap out a suck-ass sentence or paragraph with the push of a key. I have written a lot of stuff long-hand over the years and I hate the messy looking paper covered in slash marks, lined-out words, illegible scribbling and damn little prose. It's a lot easier to find the good stuff (if any) by erasing the obvious bad instantly.

    I am, by the way, pecking this out on my wife's lap top.
     
  13. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Typing on laptops is something which I've always found to be awful.
    Handwriting anything longer than a shopping list is also something I've always found to be awful.

    Solution? Much the same as RevGeo's. I use a proper keyboard, though it is attached to my tablet PC, and it goes everywhere with me. It weighs three kilos and it cost me £70, but I type a damn sight faster on this thing than I do on basically anything else.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I love what you hate! I love the way my hand-written manuscript looks with lined-out words, alternative sentences in the margins, corrections all over the place in interesting colors, etc. The messy-looking page you see is almost an art form to me - I want to frame some of my bad pages and hang them on the wall because they look cool and I had a blast writing them! There's something about word processors that just drain the color, interest, and creativity out of the process of writing. The pages look cold and sterile and they have no history. Hand-written pages look like they've been created by human beings who've had lives and ups and downs and loves and losses, and all that reflects in the way they create. Word-processed pages look like they've been created by robots who were just delivered from the factory this morning.

    (I'm not saying they ARE created by robots; they just look like it. I say we should embrace our humanity and our fallibility and our endless corrections and be proud of them!) ;)
     
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  15. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    I use both. I prefer handwriting to begin with and carry a notebook everywhere I go. Its all very rough bashed out ideas. Then I put it all together using a desktop computer (not a huge fan of laptop keyboards myself). Ultimately I prefer good old fashioned paper, and that goes for reading too - can't abide those ruddy kindles!
     
  16. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many times, I'll begin on paper then type it into the computer, then go from there. As others said, when I'm stuck, I find going back to paper can be helpful. It slows me down. So yeah, both. :)
     
  17. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    I had a massive laptop malfunction last year and wrote an entire chapter of my WIP on my phone. That.... I really don't recommend.
     
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  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Always look to someone who had it harder than you:
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
     
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  19. Ms. DiAnonyma
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    Ms. DiAnonyma Active Member

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    Yes, there's certainly something to be said for the incredible speed (and ease of editing) with a word processor. But I do know (and feel) what Steerpike's been saying; (perhaps we've seen/heard of the same studies?). The kinetic motion does something different in the brain, that's for sure, which is why I always take notes by hand ( the much faster option, typing, would make so much more sense otherwise).

    For creative writing, I usually most enjoy the facilitation of the editing that a laptop gives (and even the optional markup tracking available on word, minstrel; ooh, look at all the changes I've made...:). But I'm afraid it makes one (well, me at least) less careful in word choice... Or, at least, less economical. So, while it makes it easier perhaps to make some things better, it also removes the conscious effort involved in just writing by hand. It's pretty much an extension of the example of how the printing press changed books... Instead of elaborate, hand-copied treasures, books became mass-produced objects, much more accessible, and even disposable. Greater quantities of lower quality work resulted, as well as the great masterpieces...

    So, I'm going to stick with a combo to try and get the best of both- using pen particularly when I just get too verbose... I guess I better go write this post out and then come back and edit it...
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The last time I took notes, such as when one is listening to a lecture, I did them by hand, then rarely looked at them again. I agree, for learning, that does reinforce one's memory of the lecture. It's why those little notes are all over my desk, and house. I will jot an idea down when it comes to me. If I'm not on the computer, paper is quicker.

    But for the actual writing, I'm not trying to remember it, I'm trying to get it down in a coherent form.
     
  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My handwriting is so very bad and laborious that I can't hand-write and maintain any flow at all.

    But in the past few weeks I've been planning a quite-large-for-me (70 foot by 70 foot) vegetable garden, and I find that the planning only really goes well when I use pencil and eraser and straight edge to draw the garden plan on paper. My pitiful handwriting coherence and speed are sufficient (barely) for this--I can usually maintain focus on readable lettering when writing phrases no longer than "Overwintering Broccoli."

    It is surprising to find that paper does foster creativity in this area.
     
  22. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    When I was a kid I always hand-wrote, and when it comes to taking notes in class and learning better - it is so true! But now I type like a hundred times faster than I can hand-write, plus my hand really hurts when I try to write fast.
    Also, when it comes to creative writing, I noticed that typing kinda constraints and disciplines my thoughts and makes me a better "pantser". Perhaps I would shoot more creative stuff if I were writing on a paper, but I think it would take a lot of time and it wouldn't be as organized (maybe that's why my first draft is my only draft). :)
     
  23. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    The best FD I ever worked with INSISTED that every report you showed him had something written on it by hand. Because anybody can print out something that looks great, but only with handwriting on it do you know that a human being with a brain (he hoped) has looked at it and (he hoped) thought about it and whether it makes sense, or whether it's just a list of numbers that add up.
     
  24. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm one of those who prefer handwriting as well, even though I've been writing on my laptop the last few years. Thinking of going back to handwriting now, actually, since I decided to take a break from writing for publishing. When I was younger I was always writing my stories by hand, (there were no laptops and even the computers weren't common in every household like they are today.)
    I've been thinking about something related to this, when reading and thinking about how people used to write on typewriters, and how much more work it must have been, typing and retyping everything for each revision, but I started to think that maybe knowing all of the work awaiting you, maybe those writers put more thought into what they put on the paper, instead of just writing on and letting the words just come out as they appear in their heads, like many do today. Maybe they put more effort into crafting each sentence before they put them down on paper, so they wouldn't have so much work later? Of course they still had to rewrite, I guess, and edit, but since it wasn't as easy as it is today with modern word processors... Well, that was just a thought. I know about a very well known writer where I live who still today uses a typewriter (electrical, I assume ;) )to write his Ms's. and he's written something like 50 books and numerous articles. it makes me really curious about what his writing process looks like. :)
     
  25. jen_writer
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    jen_writer Member

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    I prefer pen and paper, I type up when I rewrite.
     

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