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Thread: What do you write with?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    What do you write with?

    I think this is the proper section for this question as it is serious and involves the methods used by fellow writers. If I'm mistaken, please move the topic accordingly.

    So the question, what does everyone use to write with and why?

    I've written things directly on computer before but for some reason it feels too temporary and too easy to take back what I've written. At the same time using pen feels too permanent and I worry over if my train of thought is going anywhere.

    Because of these reasons I settled on pencil and paper because I'm somewhat committed to what I write but if I make a mistake too badly I can have the satisfaction of erasing entire paragraphs and writing over the resulting smudges.

    Hiw about everyone else?

  2. #2
    reading all the things Anna Iguana's Avatar
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    I write on a laptop computer. It's portable, and I type eight million times faster than I hand-write. I save drafts several times a day under new file names. Mentally, that frees me to strike passages from the current draft, revising as I go, reassured that I could retrieve deleted text if I change my mind. I almost never retrieve deleted text, though, not least because my drafts folder is an impenetrable, poorly labeled morass.

  3. #3
    Resist. Love. Go outside. Marlys's Avatar
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    I work on a Chromebook, in Google Docs. Never have to remember to save, because it autosaves frequently, and even if I do something stupid like select all, delete, I can restore from one of the autobacked-up versions.

    Like Anna, I type a lot faster than I hand-write. Plus my handwriting is absolutely dreadful--if I tried using pen/pencil and paper I think I'd spend more time puzzling out what I'd written previously than writing new stuff.

    No method feels more or less permanent to me than another. It's all in progress until the final version is turned in to the publisher.
    I'm a twit, too: @PearsonMarlys

  4. #4
    Have pen, will travel Cindyt's Avatar
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    I write on a desktop.
    The only thing you can't fix is a blank page.--Bonnie Hearn Hill

  5. #5
    Live a poem...Or die a fool. \/ Beanie5's Avatar
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    Looks like ink feels like blood

  6. #6
    Did...did I do that? cmhbob's Avatar
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    I write with pencil/paper. Transcribe yesterday's writing, then start today's writing. By the time I start editing the draft, it's a very clean draft. Fix a bunch of things like SOMEGUY and NAMEOFBAR and typos, then it's off to beta readers.
    Bob Mueller
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW kaylim's Avatar
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    I prefer to use a computer because I can type quicker than I can write. Plus, my penmanship is horrible so I can't read anything I scrawl with a pen anyway. I do like writing in a notebook on occasion though when I'm on the go because its helpful for brainstorming ideas and such.

  8. #8
    figuring it all out rchapman1's Avatar
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    Definitely on my laptop! Have you seen my writing? Also I'm a very fast typist and my handwriting just can't keep up with my ideas.
    Rita Lee Chapman
    Author of Missing in Egypt
    Missing at Sea

    Winston - A Horse's Tale
    Dangerous Associations

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Laurasaurus's Avatar
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    I'm impressed by anyone who can handwrite as fast as they can think. Maybe it requires shorthand?
    I like using a notebook and pen if I'm brainstorming or just need a change due to being blocked. But normally it has to be on computer.
    Contemporary novel Northwest of Normal out now

  10. #10
    Sick and pale with grief. StoryofWoe's Avatar
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    When I'm planning, I like to take notes in either a hardback journal or on a yellow legal pad with a handful of colorful gel pens at the ready (what can I say? I grew up in the Lisa Frank age). When I'm writing, it has to be on a computer, usually my laptop but occasionally my phone if I'm just thumbing a line or two into OneNote. I could never hand write fast enough to catch the prose as it pours out, and I like the flexibility of being able to edit as I go. Plus, my handwriting is atrocious.

    So, yeah. Pretty much what everybody else has said.
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  11. #11
    Did...did I do that? cmhbob's Avatar
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    I don't handwrite as fast as I think, which is a good thing for me. I generate a cleaner draft that way. I think more about the words I'm putting down. It forces me to slow down a little, and to think more carefully about what I'm saying. I think the time spent on the front end saves me time on the back end.

    I know this isn't for everyone. But it's what works for me.
    Bob Mueller
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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW kaylim's Avatar
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    Does anybody use recording devices for writing? Just curious. I've only used it for journalism projects.

  13. #13
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
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    I write primarily in Word on a cheap laptop computer with a solid state drive so I don't have to worry about messing up the drive when I tote the computer around.

    I type almost as quickly as I can speak, if I'm not concerned about errors, so it works out well for me.
    -- Myrea
    "When it comes down to it it’s always, always you and the white page. At the end of the day if the page is blank, it’s won. Don’t let the page win."
    Alasdair Stewart

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW
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    PC & laptop for drafts and final. At the close of the day I back everything up (5 separate devices; ext HDDs, flash drives, etc.); the backups have saved my bacon on more than one occasion. For random notes, ideas, etc., I'll use pencils and notepads (always within reach). I've never used voice recording; a quick scribbled note works fine for me.

  15. #15
    ROYALLY ENTITLED - May 16, 2017 Melody's Avatar
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    When I'm planning I definitely use pen and paper. I read somewhere that this helps with creativity. When I am stuck on a scene, I also revert back to this. Then I type what I write into word on a desktop. The typing also serves as a time of editing and clean up to what I have written by hand, so this doesn't feel like a waste of time or redundant. I do all editing on the computer. But again, for tough scenes that need a lot of work I will print out a few pages and edit by hand before typing back in to the computer. So I do a bit of both. I have not tried talking into a recorder. There's something about the mind to script action...
    http://www.melodydelgado.com/ ROYALLY ENTITLED, published by Clean Reads- Out now on Kobo, B&N and Amazon

  16. #16
    Custom User Title S. Eli's Avatar
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    I handwrite in batches of 15k and then transfer to the computer. Some people call it draft 0, but honestly it's a first draft. Any scenes added in revision are handwritten first, too.

  17. #17
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    My laptop and my tablet and I back up to the cloud. I rarely save first drafts once I start revising.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaylim View Post
    Does anybody use recording devices for writing? Just curious. I've only used it for journalism projects.
    I do. I have a small cheap Olympia combo camera & recorder. I use that when I'm away from home and want to capture a quick thought. Hearing the tone of my voice at that moment of "discovery" helps me relive the whole thought.
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  18. #18
    Left-Handed Writing Fairy folclor's Avatar
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    I use black pen for writing the story and blue pen for notes. I write by hand because I'm trying to gain fine motor control and it's easier to get my thoughts focused if I have something so static in front of me. I type up what I've handwritten the next day, though I haven't yet gotten to the red pen portion where I edit. So I'm not sure how I'll end up doing that bit. All re-writes will, of course, be via hand, as well. I use LibreOffice because I absolutely hate the new Office 365 and I keep back up versions on external hard drives and encrypted thumb drives.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW lianna williamson's Avatar
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    I do all of my actual drafting in Scrivener on my laptop, but when I get stuck I pull out a notebook and work out the solution on paper.
    blogging the novel

  20. #20
    standing on head, typing one-handed... muse's Avatar
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    I write mostly in scrivener on my laptop and ipad. But I also have an Iogear Mobile Digital Scribe pen (https://www.iogear.com/product/GPEN200N/) for days when the words will only flow onto paper - usually brainstorming.
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  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW LJD's Avatar
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    Desktop and tablet (when I'm at the coffee shop). I do often do brainstorming and planning with pen and notebook, though.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW
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    Any device I have, from two laptops, two desktops and yellowlegalpad.101 with remote operating system ballpointpen 1.0. Sometimes even on scrap paper. What I don't write with is iPad or smartphone. Those I find just too awkward.

    caw
    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

    -- Terry Pratchett

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW Laurasaurus's Avatar
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    I can't write on my phone. Too fiddly. But I know people who write whole chapters on theirs.

    If I get an idea in the middle of the night, rather than switch the light on and make notes, I use the dictaphone app on my phone. (Added bonus of making me feel like Agent Dale Cooper.)
    Contemporary novel Northwest of Normal out now

  24. #24
    Benefactor Member Manuel Royal's Avatar
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    I usually start with handwritten notes in a little notebook, when I first have an idea. For something bigger than a short story -- a script or novel -- I dedicate a composition notebook. Sometimes it helps to work a point out longhand, or just doodle. Seems to access the brain differently than sitting in front of a keyboard.

    For actual composition, I use my PC and LibreOffice Writer, a freeware analog for MS Word. I've never been really comfortable with laptops. I learned to type on typewriters (even naming myself after one), and need the feel of at least some mechanical movement.
    Fiction blog as Manuel Royal: Donnetown Today or Recently (or a Long Time Ago)

    Fiction column under my real name: Welcome to Smyrnings ; continued as Spland of the Splost

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  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I'm surprised this topic has taken off so well. Reading through the responses has caused me to think more about the reasons that I think writing in pen is evil, except for that scribe product someone linked too.

    Writing in pencil allows my imagination to work beyind the conscious thought going into what I'm writing. I find that it helps me not just write natural flowing dialogue but helps me to craft characters as well. My imagination and source of inspiration working together often seems to have the motivation and personality worked out of even minor characters before I'm even aware of them.

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