1. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Writing the Dang First Draft

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SuperVenom, Oct 20, 2012.

    Quick question. how many still right the initial draft down old school? ie Pen and paper. Im getting older now lol so computers weren't as affordable and widespread as they are now. So when i wasin school my (might just be mine) teachers always told us that we should hand write our first draft before even contemplating the idea of touching a computer. However being dyslexic, it meant for ever A4 page i produced there were 100 scribbled pages left on the floor. Now for the first time in my older state Im trying my hand at writing but when i sat at my computer, I had this sudden sensation of guilt which was weird lol. I just wondering is it still common or even an advantage to hand write first, or do i just have issues lol. :confused:
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    When at home, I write directly onto my computer. I like the convenience of being able to juggle passages about the page as ideas don't always come in the correct order.

    When I have no other option than to use pen and paper - my writing is a complete mess and I doubt anyone but myself would be able to make much sense of it.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I like using my laptop, as, like Trilby said, I like to be able to type out random passages here and there without having to worry about the order. Besides, my penmanship sucks!
     
  4. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Same here, i once took a whole page for a sentence thanks to crossings out and scribbles and even restarts of the sentence because what i had written was illegible. Thanks guys I can now ignore this guilt and continue. :)
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I had to write "old school," I wouldn't be writing. lol I hate writing out anything by hand.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never wrote much by hand, either. If I'm really into what I'm writing, I'm thinking faster than I can write by hand, and it is quicker for me to use a keyboard. Way back yonder, I had a *gasp* typewriter my freshman year in college. Even then, I used to just sit at the typewriter and type, even if I did not yet know what I wanted to say. Then I used to literally cut and paste, as I could write out thoughts as they occurred to me, rather than being concerned that they were in the proper order.

    On the other hand, some people love the feeling of writing, pen in hand, on a piece of paper. I see no reason to feel guilty either way. It should be whatever way works best for you.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you should write in whatever way you want and find most effective and enjoyable... doesn't matter how anyone else does it, or what you're told is 'best'... what's truly best in this instance, is only what's best for you!
     
  8. reviloennik
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    reviloennik Member

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    I think your teacher wanted to encourage you to practice your handwriting, but in this day and age it's probably no longer necessary. What's best is what makes it easiest for you to get your thoughts recorded. In fact, the 'old school' voice recorder is an option, if you rather say what you think, and if your thoughts come out quicker than you can type or write. :)
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't even do my shopping list by hand. I used to, but I spent too much time standing in the aisle trying to puzzle out what the hell I scrawled.

    Yeah, my handwriting is really that bad. Not only can no one else make out what I wrote, *I* can't even read it!

    You should do what works best for you, no matter what anyone else tries to tell you is the best way.
     
  10. inkyliddlefingers
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    inkyliddlefingers Member

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    I cannot believe the amount of people - writers especially - who no longer write by hand. I cannot contemplate crafting my stories any other way. Using a keyboard, for me, is faceless, emotionless and all part of that 'instant gratification' culture the world is steeped in. Writing by hand forces you to engage with the thinking process more, to slow down and consider each word carefully, mulling alternatives whilst they are still in your head, not in a word processor. Directly using a keyboard or other form of electronic media has been proven to foster impatience in other areas of our lives. I think it has its place, but only as a kind of personal printing press at the very end of a long, leisurely, enjoyable hand crafting process. IMHO.
     
  11. GHMP
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    GHMP New Member

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    I don't think it's a terrible thing to write on a keyboard. The writer is the one who makes the emotions that they attached to their form of writing: if you grew up writing in notebooks with a pen or pencil, then you'll have emotions attached to it. If you grew up tapping away at the keyboard (like me), then you'll have emotions attached to that, and not so much attached to paper.

    Personally, I use a mixture of both, though I feel I'm often more productive at my keyboard because I can edit and cut stuff out easier. When I'm writing in a notebook, I'll often be thinking too fast for my sentence-forming capability to catch up, and I'll lose the moment while I'm 'going slow' and trying to think up how to best write this sentence. When I fail to write a word (I accidentally write the wrong letter because my mind is 5 words ahead of my hand), I'll have to scribble out that word and start again. When I completely flunk a sentence, I'll have to scribble it out and write it over with a better structure.

    I think the natural thought process is made to progress and keep moving. If my tool of writing is slowing me down, then it's slowing my thought process down and resisting my writing. I'd rather have my emotionless keyboard if a notebook will stop my thought track and make me stress over remembering the idea I just thought of, but couldn't write down fast enough...


    Despite saying this, I do still write on pen and paper sometimes, maybe when I'm rusty and don't feel I need the speed of a keyboard, or when I just want to feel paper slide along a pen in my hand.


    In the end, the keyboard and the pen/paper are just tools. Choose the one you prefer at the moment, and go with it. The point is to write, whether in ink or pixels.

    It reminds me of what Natalie Goldberg wrote in her book "Writing Down the Bones":
    "Finally, one has to just shut up, sit down, and write."
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I do thoroughly agree with your observation about the "instant gratification culture". However, computers are just much much convenient for editing... I sometimes write by hand but I cross out every other word and I end up with a whole page of crossed-out scribbles and two clean sentences. And then when I finally type it up, they usually disappear too :D

    I try to do my planning process by hand. Ever since I found my old notes when I was planning my first novel, and then gradually shifted to only planning/writing on a computer, I've decided to do planning by hand. I just loved seeing my own handwriting, all that work - somehow it's different when you know you wrote it yourself with your own hand, rather than just typed, more personal - and I loved the way the ink looked old, the pages a little yellow. I want that sort of memento for my next novel :)

    To the OP - write in whatever medium that allows you to write best! Screw what everyone else says :D You're the one writing after all, not everyone else!
     
  13. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I've done both ways. I like writing by hand because it's not really a good idea to take a computer in the bath with me, but I do a little writing there sometimes. I don't own a laptop, and I like writing outdoors sometimes. One thing I like about hand-writing the first draft is that it imposes an extra layer of editing on the work, and it's a different sort of editing than what occurs at the keyboard, for me.

    Writing on a word-cruncher is great for convenience, though. It obviously eases the task of organization and especially major revamps. The instant references available are very useful as well.

    My poetry always starts out in longhand. Inspiration along those lines doesn't seem to visit me very often at all in front of a monitor. I really need to learn the recorder function on my cell-phone so I can record it when it strikes.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've posted this before on other threads dealing with the pen versus computer issue. It's pretty much everything I have to say about it:

    I write either with computer 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.
     
  15. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    I usually write by hand. Words come to me much, much easier when I do. I don't use computers to write nearly as often as I used to, because the ability to quickly edit means I spend even more time agonizing over the sentences I create. If I'm using a pencil, I just get too lazy to scribble out or erase stuff, and that is what helps me the most.
     

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