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watchtower
10-10-2018, 09:52 AM
I will argue that the medium is the message. "Content" (for lack of a better word) written by hand is fundamentally different because one's mindset is different.
I wrote my book decoding language with longhand notes, and a longhand first draft. THEN, to the computer.

Maryn
10-10-2018, 05:21 PM
If that's a strategy that works for you, great!

But for me, handwritten drafts are poorer, with less realistic dialogue and choppier sentences, probably because I can type so much faster than I can write. Sometimes I can keep up with my thoughts, which is not possible with handwriting.

It's kind of a shame, because there goes my imaginary writer self-image, sitting near a fire, writing with a great pen and an interesting ink color, a glass of wine at hand. (Also, I'm inexplicably wearing makeup--and look, I've lost weight!)

For writers for whom a slower, more deliberate method is ideal, hand writing may be a great approach.

Maryn, knowing there is no One True Way

Lakey
10-10-2018, 05:38 PM
I agree with Maryn - and I say that as an inveterate hand-writer myself, at least some significant fraction of the time.

Like Maryn, I also type much faster than I hand-write. However, typing speed, for me, has nothing to do with writing speed - that's limited by the speed at which the words come out of my brain. So writing by hand doesn't slow me down. And it gives me a tactile pleasure that I do not get at a keyboard. I like writing. I like my notebooks, I like the feel of my pens, and I like the way my handwriting looks on a page. It's pleasurable.

Sometimes, I prefer to write by hand because at a keyboard, it is too easy for me to get trapped by perfectionism - that sentence didn't do quite what I wanted, let me see if I can fix it, no that's even worse, wait the real problem here is that what came before is all wrong, I need to change that too, actually these last five paragraphs are all terrible, let me delete them and start over.

In my notebook, though, it's easier for me to make myself keep moving forward. No, that sentence wasn't perfect, but it's there, and later on when I type it up (because it all will get typed up, eventually) I can worry about making it shine. Right now, the goal is just to get the scene on paper, so I have something to work with. Right now, I'm having an easier time doing that in a notebook than at a keyboard.

These are psychological games - in theory I should be able to do the same thing at a keyboard, force myself to move forward after a sentence has come out. In practice, I don't. That's entirely my experience, though, irrational as it is. I don't expect others' experiences to be the same.

Introversion
10-10-2018, 06:06 PM
Whatever works for you, watchtower, but thatís entirely subjective.

Keyboarding with a word processor (I use Scrivener) is far easier for me, and far more fluid. Iím 58 so itís not like I grew up using software, but I canít imagine writing longhand with pen & paper any more. I can easily bang out a few paragraphs, move things around, correct mistakes, try out multiple versions of dialogue, slice out sections that arenít working but preserve them in margin notes because they contain some nuggets I might want to use elsewhere.

Thereís no universal mystical connection between how you write and the final product. Iíd say if I had to write longhand, I wouldnít write.

Curlz
10-10-2018, 06:18 PM
I'd think one would be more careful when writing with pen and paper because it's more difficult to correct mistakes ;) So quality could be instantly better, just because that extra bit of consideration. With a word-processor you feel free to type whatever nonsense comes to mind because, you know, the glorious backbutton is always there to help you out :Thumbs: Cut, paste, delete, rearrange, rewrite, use thesaurus, find and replace. Oh so easy, clickety-click, we'll edit later :tongue

rgroberts
10-10-2018, 06:31 PM
I'm in the "better" writing with a computer crowd; I'm also someone whose writing speed gets limited by handwriting, and that tends to make things a lot choppier. That said, when I get writers' block, one of the best things I can do is swap to handwriting. There's something about a pen and paper that breaks through the wall for me and helps me get going again.

Tazlima
10-10-2018, 06:37 PM
I'd think one would be more careful when writing with pen and paper because it's more difficult to correct mistakes ;) So quality could be instantly better, just because that extra bit of consideration. With a word-processor you feel free to type whatever nonsense comes to mind because, you know, the glorious backbutton is always there to help you out :Thumbs: Cut, paste, delete, rearrange, rewrite, use thesaurus, find and replace. Oh so easy, clickety-click, we'll edit later :tongue

I'm the opposite actually. When I write longhand, my brain runs so far ahead of what my hand is doing that my hand sort of ... skips, like a record. There's probably a word for it, the written equivalent of stuttering, but basically I often can't even write a complete word without errors because I'm thinking ahead and what should be an "i" becomes an "f" because there's one coming up later, so scratch out and correct, but now I'm behind, so jump forward a few words and go back later to fill in the blanks with bubbles and arrows.

Even a simple phone message ends up looking like a deranged flow-chart lifted from the notebook of a serial killer. It's a mess.

I'll take typing every time. I simply think the words, and "voila!" there they are on the page! Writing longhand is like when you're walking somewhere and you get stuck behind a group that's creeping along at a snail's pace, with no way to go around.

Tocotin
10-10-2018, 07:11 PM
I prefer to write the first draft longhand, even if I have the access to my computer (which is not often), because it helps me turn off my nasty, noisy, and counterproductive inner editor. When I write on the computer, I can see very clearly what I've written so far, and it makes me want to edit as I go. Ultimately I lose the flow and the whole output gets stilted and false. When I write longhand, I don't see the page so clearly Ė (1) I write cursive, (2) I often write in weird positions (head on the desk/table), and (3) I often unfocus my eyes so that the lines are just a blur. I write quite fast, so it doesn't bother me that I won't get something down Ė that's what abbreviations and symbols and other tricks are for.

It doesn't mean that I don't cross out or change things as I write Ė I do, when I feel that I can phrase something better, or that I've repeated myself, or wrote too much, etc. But I don't erase stuff forever, as I would on the computer, and I think it's good that I get to keep whatever I've written so far, because when I edit, I sometimes find that a word, or a phrase, or a paragraph I'd crossed out wasn't that bad after all, and can be reused or moved somewhere else. And last but not least, even if I cross out a lot, the words still stay on the page as the proof of the effort. It's really good for morale :troll

Jason
10-10-2018, 10:33 PM
I can't write in cursive legibly...LOL

No joke, I am worse than doctors when it comes to my penmanship. In order for me to write with pen and paper legibly, I need to go very slowly, and my hand cramps up very quickly. I can't remember the last time I did any creative writing that was manually driven - it's all digital for me now for much the same reason as others have said. :)

Enlightened
10-10-2018, 10:48 PM
I use both. I write poems (as clues) and puzzles for characters to solve. For me, I cannot do these digitally. I have to pen these. Lots of scratched out bad lines for replaced lines I see a lot of in the poems I make. Although I have not sat down and written page one of my first book, yet, I have numerous documents with work that, much of which, will go into the books (that is writing). This includes character bios (with secrets, relationships, relations, other), jokes, whole scenes and dialogues, and loads more.

Other things like family trees and brainstorming, pen and paper.

AW Admin
10-10-2018, 10:48 PM
Whatever works for you, works.

I use keyboards and fountain pens about equally.

That said, if I'm taking notes about something, I prefer to write them by hand. The act of writing helps me remember and recall.

Myrealana
10-10-2018, 11:00 PM
Since my hand gives out after about 200 words and even I have trouble reading my own handwriting, typing is 100% the way to go for me.

BT Lamprey
10-10-2018, 11:16 PM
I'm the same. Cramps and legibility make an ergonomic keyboard the only real option. Although I waste a ton of paper to print out and read what I've written, because the medium really does matter.

Jason
10-10-2018, 11:30 PM
Oh yeah, y'all make good points - I do take notes or shorthand stuff with pen and paper - I also whiteboard a lot when I teach, so do "write" there, but that's more mapping out logic flows of how software and telephony data paths work...does that count as "writing"? :)

AW Admin
10-11-2018, 09:06 PM
Oh yeah, y'all make good points - I do take notes or shorthand stuff with pen and paper - I also whiteboard a lot when I teach, so do "write" there, but that's more mapping out logic flows of how software and telephony data paths work...does that count as "writing"? :)

That counts as writing.

I want to note, for people with cramping and other muscular and pain issues related to writing by hand—if you're relying on ball point pens, consider trying a fountain pen (they don't have to expensive; there are some great easy to use fountain pens under $5.00), pencil or gel pens.

There are some differences in how our brains work with hand writing and keyboards (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/), mostly in terms of long-term memory (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201705/the-radical-notion-returning-handwriting).

For me, carpal tunnel is a problem. So I alternate between keyboards, fountain pens, (or pencils) and paper.

My handwriting is terrible, but it's good enough for drafts. And I do think differently when I write by hand.

Thomas Vail
10-11-2018, 09:13 PM
I enjoy outlining by hand, but that's because writing in cursive is fun, and my brain and hand can keep pace. Writing out fully longhand is tedious and frustrating, because my WPM is so much slower.

Enlightened
10-11-2018, 09:19 PM
Oh yeah, y'all make good points - I do take notes or shorthand stuff with pen and paper - I also whiteboard a lot when I teach, so do "write" there, but that's more mapping out logic flows of how software and telephony data paths work...does that count as "writing"? :)

For me, to keep this writing related, writing is a multi-phasic process. Whatever is mandatory to get to the actual writing phase is what you need (done in the time you have to devote to it). Outlining (or logic flows, whatever you are involved with) is part of the process you need to create deliverables (writing, teaching, whatever).

Jason
10-12-2018, 01:17 AM
That counts as writing.

I want to note, for people with cramping and other muscular and pain issues related to writing by hand—if you're relying on ball point pens, consider trying a fountain pen (they don't have to expensive; there are some great easy to use fountain pens under $5.00), pencil or gel pens.

There are some differences in how are brains work with hand writing and keyboards (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/), mostly in terms of long-term memory (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201705/the-radical-notion-returning-handwriting).

For me, carpal tunnel is a problem. So I alternate between keyboards, fountain pens, (or pencils) and paper.

My handwriting is terrible, but it's good enough for drafts. And I do think differently when I write by hand.


For me, to keep this writing related, writing is a multi-phasic process. Whatever is mandatory to get to the actual writing phase is what you need (done in the time you have to devote to it). Outlining (or logic flows, whatever you are involved with) is part of the process you need to create deliverables (writing, teaching, whatever).


In that case, yay! I should have been participating in the Write Every Day threads for the past 8 weeks, because this is my forst admin week (not AW Admin :) - that means my first non-teaching week) in as much time. Which means, absent weekends (when I read), I am now going on 12 straight weeks of writing every day!

Hey, I'll take it where ever I can get it :)

autumnleaf
10-12-2018, 08:45 PM
My inner editor kicks in when I'm typing onto the screen. This is fatal for the outline and first draft, so like several others here I write those longhand in a series of notebooks. The fact that my handwriting is terrible is a plus -- I have the freedom to write a horrible first draft without worrying about someone else reading it. On subsequent drafts, I type onto the computer and therefore invite the inner editor to fix the first draft issues.

As always, do what works for you.

shizu
10-13-2018, 07:25 AM
This is something I'm struggling with right now, funnily enough.

Like autumnleaf, writing longhand is my go-to tactic for bypassing the inner editor It's counter-intuitive, but the act of scribbling words on paper feel so much less permanent. Neatly typed words remind me so much of the finished product that my perfectionism goes into overdrive. Handwritten words are so obviously unfinished, there's less pressure for them to come out perfect, which is only reinforced by my terrible handwriting (a friend once asked if I wrote in shorthand because my handwriting was that indecipherable)!

Lately though, I've been on a mission to reduce the amount of paper waste I create. After the last major spring clean, I realized that the vast majority of the stuff I always end up shredding/incinerating/recycling are reams upon reams of handwritten drafts, notebooks, etc, as well as piles of print-out for editing purposes. I don't have the luxury of space to keep all (or even half) of it, so I have to be selective in what I keep.

So, to avoid piling up so much waste in future, I'm trying to do the bulk of my writing directly onscreen, and I'm finding it tough adjusting. I don't feel the flow of sentences via typing the way I do when I'm writing by hand. I'm overthinking and second guessing all the damn time. The back button is getting one heck of a workout, because nothing ever 'looks' right, and even editing on screen is not something that comes easy to me (I've tried all the font style/color tricks, but frustratingly that makes it even worse, because now the writing looks even more weird!).

I think I'm going to have to find a balance here -- maybe handwriting the first few pages and then hopefully letting momentum do its thing as I'm typing things up. Dunno. But yeah, there's definitely a difference for me.

Albedo
10-13-2018, 12:18 PM
I'm another one of those people with writing so lazy even I can't read it (is this languid squiggle an n? An r? A question mark? Who knows?). I brainstorm by hand, but It'd be way to painful for me to ever try to actually write that way. I haven't written fiction by hand since high school.

Old Hack
10-13-2018, 11:40 PM
I can write non fiction straight onto the screen but still use longhand for fiction. I don't know why: it just works better for me. And there's nothing like that big stack of pages at the end of the day to make me feel like I've achieved something.

Overall, though, what's most important is what works for you. Just get those words down.

Snitchcat
10-16-2018, 10:57 AM
I can write non fiction straight onto the screen but still use longhand for fiction. I don't know why: it just works better for me. And there's nothing like that big stack of pages at the end of the day to make me feel like I've achieved something.

Overall, though, what's most important is what works for you. Just get those words down.

QFT.

I'm in with OH on this: non-fic straight to the computer, but longhand for fiction. Just how I work. :)

And yes, whatever method works for you is correct for you.