1. Eugene94
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    Eugene94 New Member

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    Style Writing utensil vs. keyboard

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Eugene94, Sep 20, 2014.

    Hello, this is my first thread, and I hope that it is appropriate in the category. :meh:

    There are two tools that are mainly used to write. The writing utensil:write: and keyboard.

    I am wondering... Which is faster? A certain form of writing enabled by the writing utensil; or keyboard typing? If a person was to advance in both areas to the fullest. Which one would he or she be able to do faster? Of course there is also the Dvorak keyboard layout, which I read enables the user to type faster, than on a Qwerty layout. Can Dvorak be faster than; say, cursive? Then again there is short hand writing that journalists use, and there are many variations of this. Could this be faster than typing? o_O

    My main concern is speed. And if every variation is considered; which is the fastest?:confused:

    Please feel free to include other methods you feel are fastest.
    Can't wait to see the responses, and I hope that this can lead to a great discussion. :)
     
  2. Karwedsky
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    Karwedsky Member

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    I think the main downside in speed that comes with using writing utensils, is it becomes a more tedious process when you need to go back and edit. Using a keyboard and some form of electronic file system allows the writer to do most things faster, such as making copies of a draft, and going through and making edits to a draft.

    Although writing utensils can cause less efficiency later in the editing process, there is a definite aesthetic quality that comes from writing with a pen or pencil that can act as a sort of muse for some people and if you are one of those people then it may be better to just go with what feels more comfortable and just write.
     
  3. Joshua A
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    Joshua A Member

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    I enjoy both, and I'll give my reasoning for each:

    Writing allows me to express my thoughts in creative fashions, be it the way I write, the style of words, the concepts and drawings that I can place with the words, as well as the amazing feeling of ink flowing underneath my hands as the ideas literally pour from my mind. However, it's not the fastest. I also don't use shorthand, so I make up speed by sacrificing legibility...that is a problem down the road, clearly. However, I find that I can spell better using a pen and pencil, and that the feel of using such allows me to 'feel smarter' in such a way that I have better creative ideas to start with.

    On the other hand, typing, allows for a few things; if using a word processor better than Word(that allows word completion, etc.), I can type incredibly quickly. I'm not sure my fastest, but I know I can readily type upwards of 150wpm, should my typing be coming from my mind instead of mindless typing of words on a screen. However, based upon the mindless typing, my average is(when I'm not blitzing) is ~81wpm. Now, when I start typing extremely fast, such as to get an idea out of my head before it is lost, the spelling is just terrible. But that's a drawback that is easily corrected(sometimes) in the electronic copy that I've created. I do use the Dvorak layout, and I find it slightly faster than QWERTY. I can 'blitz', as I called it earlier, or type excessively fast for moments at a type, much more effectively without my fingers tripping across each other. However, it takes time to learn how to touch-type Dvorak after a (possible) lifetime of using QWERTY.

    That is just my observations though, I hope others have some as well. :)
     
  4. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speed is only important if you are producing good work.

    I used to write using a Parker pen and a lined notebook. Eventually I proved that it was too slow, despite how much I enjoyed it. I tried using voice recognition software. It was incredibly fast (once calibrated) but my work was mostly unusable. Using my laptop (the keyboard is perfect for me) I get the best balance between speed and quality. If I push myself up near a thousand words an hour, the end product is not very good. If I drop below three hundred words an hour, I second guess myself too much and get stalled. My best work comes on the keyboard at between 500-600 words per hour.

    I suspect every writer has a different 'sweet spot' where speed is concerned, and finding it is an important part of the learning process.
     
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  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why is speed a consideration at all? It's all about quality. They don't award Nobel Prizes for writing fast.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I seem to vaguely remember thinking that if I could just type/write faster, I could catch all those thoughts running across my mind. But as I became a faster typist (around 100wpm) I realized that those thoughts are not running across my mind in the form of words. They're tangled images and phrases and ideas. I have to translate them into words to get them down, and I can type much, much faster than my mind can do that translation. I think that getting to a half-decent touch-typing speed is all the speed that you're likely to need.
     
  7. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    Depends on what I'm writing. I plan on paper since I find it helps me get the ideas out and it doesn't really matter if I lose my notes since for me it's more the act of writing them than the written copy that is beneficial.

    When it comes to actually writing the story I have to type it. It may be a little slower but the words don't come to me quick enough to make any difference. I can't lose typed stuff as easily as I lose paper and changing names is a simple as a few clicks. Backing up and editing is also much easier.
     
  8. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I've tried writing with a spoon. I used it to drip syrup onto my pancake. I wouldn't recommend it as a method. It's slow, messy, and I reached the end of my pancake after three letters.
     
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  9. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    The fastest haptic method to input language is stenotype. Court reporters are required to type with high accuracy at the same rate as a very fast talker.

    A keyboard can also be pretty fast. And yes, Dvorak vs. QWERTY makes a difference. My speed of transcription was 90-95 wpm on QWERTY and now it is 115-120 wpm with Dvorak. More importantly, Dvorak is more comfortable. My fingers feel significantly less strained and fatigued than they felt on QWERTY.

    I have a hard time imagining any handwritten method that can come close to touch typing. Touch typing involves one finger per character and you use nine fingers at a time (counting both thumbs as one, due to the spacebar). On the other hand, handwriting involves five fingers per character and you only use five fingers at a time.

    Honestly, the fastest language input method (although not haptic) is voice-to-text. It has unique advantages other than rate of input. It feels more natural. Talking simply feels different from writing. It can make it easier to record thoughts without self-editing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  10. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    The main reason that I stick to typing is to save trees. With the amount of editing, deleting, and adding that I do, I would be going through a lot of paper if I wrote everything. I used to write in pencil so that I could erase, but over time, the graphite does smear and make a big mess. The only thing that I am writing with a pen and paper is a romance novelette, and I only did that because it just feels so quaint.
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Keyboard. Every time, for the actual book writing. This is because my fingers can keep up with my brain better on a keyboard than with a pen. If I try to keep up with a pen, the page ends up looking like a ball of knotted string that I can't even read myself.

    However, research notes are done on paper in pencil but I try to write my notes in capitals so that I have to slow down. And if I need to keep anything secret, I can do a Da Vinci and write backwards.
     
  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    After using a Qwerty keyboard for some 25 years, I'm not sure I could convert to the Dvorak layout now.

    Touch typing, the fingers are actually responsibly for more than one key each, with the fore-fingers being responsible for 6 keys each, and that doesn't include the top row of numerics.

    Right little finger is in charge of seven keys, including the return and shift keys. Same goes for left little finger, which looks after A, Q, Z, \, shift, caps lock and tab (again, not including the top row of numerics.)

    I have no experience with shorthand or stenotyping but I know that both methods work on a series of symbols that I think, are more phonetic than actual letters.

    I can see how voice to text would be advantageous in some things but how would you input speech and punctuation marks? would you actually have to say something along the lines of: open speech marks capital letter how dare you do that question mark close speech marks he said full stop new line ...

    (or am I completely off the mark with that one?)
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would have expected voice-to-text to be much slower than typing, because of the processing time. Is there a substantial buffer with the translation running behind the speech, or is it just faster than I expected?
     
  14. LeighAnn
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    LeighAnn Member

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    I have extensive experience with voice-to-text, and it's always, always slower than typing (if you're not touching the keyboard, adding punctuation is a real pain the behind). I type 120 words a minute normally (more than that if I'm rushing). After buying 3 programs and using several free ones, I abandoned the process in favor of just typing. So much faster.
     
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  15. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think speed depends on what you're more comfortable with. I personally am very slow using script and I know writing print takes me a lot longer than typing. I also prefer typing because if I do write something by hand, I inevitably have to type it up.

    That said, some writers just find their writing flows more easily by hand vs by computer and that's why they choose to hand-write before typing.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is an advantage, though. Writing by hand forces you to type it up later, and that gives you another opportunity to revise and edit. That's a good thing!
     
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  17. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find it easier to revise with something already typed. It's quicker and you're able to save multiple drafts. I don't think anyone calls their first draft a finished product handwritten or typed. =)
     
  18. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    One advantage of writing by hand is I do less editing as I go, which means I can sometimes get into a better flow and produce more story. Also my pen doesn't have Internet to distract me.
    I quite enjoy typing up hand written work and I get a bit of editing done in the process.
     
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  19. ToDandy
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    ToDandy Contributing Member

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    Always, always, always writing by keyboard for me. The only thing I really do by hand is my outlines and character workshops. Other than that, the speed of my pencil just can't keep up with my thoughts.
     
  20. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is what I meant:

    "the quick, brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."

    If I type it:

    Left pinky: 1
    Left ring finger: 6
    Left middle finger: 5
    Left index finger: 8
    Thumb: 8
    Right index finger: 6
    Right middle finger: 4
    Right ring finger: 4
    Right pinky: 3

    If I handwrite it:

    Left pinky: 0
    Left ring finger: 0
    Left middle finger: 0
    Left index finger: 0
    Left thumb: 0
    Right thumb: 37
    Right index finger: 37
    Right middle finger: 37
    Right ring finger: 37
    Right pinky: 37
    Yes. That is one of the reasons why stenotype is faster.
    Something like that, but theoretically, you could invent single-syllable or two-syllable words to represent punctuation.
    I am referring to the theoretical limit. The human body is capable of outputting information via speech faster than via haptic input.
     
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  21. elynne
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    elynne Active Member

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    I've done stenotyping! I trained as a court reporter for a while--didn't graduate, though, in large part because the "school" I had signed on through was actually a big moneymaking/tax dodging scam (as I found out when I began getting notifications of the bankruptcy proceedings a few years later, heh). I love being able to type quickly, and stenotyping was--difficult to learn, but once you got the hang of it, just mindblowing. it takes a lot more memory than touch-typing, but once you get the basic patterns down you start being able to type entire phrases like "ladies and gentlemen of the jury" with one combination of keystrokes. my current job is medical transcription (I have experience with the other side of voice-to-text software!), and I sometimes really miss being able to stenotype when I'm typing out long reports. I do use an expander program, so for example if I type "taot" it will expand it out automatically to "to the," or "ausc" to "auscultation," or even "rrr" to "regular rate and rhythm." I've thought about doing that for my writing projects, but first you have to identify what phrases you use often enough for an expander to save you time, then you have to make each entry into the expander, then you have to remember all the phrases...

    ultimately, as many people have said, being able to get your thoughts on paper faster doesn't always help. I prefer keyboarding to handwriting because my handwriting is awful, ink and graphite usually smudge, and my hand cramps up after I've been writing a fairly short amount of time--which I know is because of disuse/lack of practice, but I've never wanted to handwrite enough to push that barrier. I grew up having to use "cursive" for all my reports in school, but once I learned how to touch type, I never looked back.
     
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  22. Michaelson345
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    Michaelson345 Member

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    Writing with keyboard is faster than utensil. Writing with utensil is a very tedious job. Today each and every person become expert in writing with keyboard.
     

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