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Southern_girl29
01-09-2007, 09:17 PM
Does anyone else find it easier to write with a pen and a paper than using a computer? When I use the computer, it seems like I expect everything to be perfect the first time, but with paper and pen, I just write. I think it might come from my day job where everything I write really does have to almost perfect the first time I do it.

So, which do you prefer? Long hand or computer?

kbax
01-09-2007, 09:25 PM
I write longhand, too, for a few reasons:

I get distracted on the computer. Too many other things for me to look at, play with, etc. Ooooh, shiny....
I like the feel. I love how the right pen feels in my hand, the way the words are formed, how my handwriting looks, the color of the ink...I'm a very tactile person, and writing, for me, needs to be a tactile experience as well as an intellectual one.
A notebook is easier to carry around and use in various locales than a laptop is. My notebook doesn't need a power source, thankyouverymuch.I've tried and tried and tried to just write straight to the computer, because it sure would take less time than writing longhand and transferring it, but it's just not my thing. Once I accepted that, writing got a lot less frustrating.

PeeDee
01-09-2007, 09:30 PM
I adore writing long-hand, like I adore writing on a typewriter. A computer is a necessary writing implement for me, and I'm not always happy about it.

I write long hand for most of my short stories, or for bits where I'm unsure what's happening yet. I treat it like my first draft. The process of typing what I wrote into the computer (I follow the handwritten draft loosely here) is essentially my next draft.

Novels I tend to write on the computer. "Tend to" is the operative phrase.

I like that I have notebooks I can shove in my pocket and take with me. I have all sorts of notebooks and journal things and things. It's wonderful.

I suggest for anyone about to begin handwriting their stories, get a comfortable ink pen. A ball point pen will murder your hand, because you have to push. Get something like a V5 or even better, a fountain pen. You have not known heaven until you've written with a good non-scratchy, non-clogged fountain pen with a nice grip on it and a good weight on the back.

aka eraser
01-09-2007, 09:31 PM
I used to write everything in longhand first. My book was born between the pages of a couple of notebooks. But for the last few years torn ligaments in my forearm make holding a pen uncomfortable and painful if prolonged.

I've simply had to adapt to composing on the computer but it hasn't been easy. I miss writing the old-fashioned way.

MidnightMuse
01-09-2007, 09:33 PM
I miss it, too. I can jot a quick (short) note to myself, or manage a grocery list - but anything more than that and the pain in my elbow will last for a week.

But back in the day, I was a pen and paper devotee. Oh, well, that and there were no PCs back then :D

Stew21
01-09-2007, 09:34 PM
I do some of both, its the translation into the computer (like PeeDee) that is where a second draft comes from. But sometimes it slows me down severely. I had handwritten thousands of words on my current Novel in progress and felt that I couldn't move forward until I got them put in the computer, and it screwed me up. the actual writing in longhand was great, but I think I really require a computer to get the work done.
Poetry, I still love to handwrite.(but I do most of my editing to it once it's on the computer screen).

Pomegranate
01-09-2007, 09:35 PM
I find that I hit the "flow" state of writing faster with pen and ink. Like Kbax, the keyboard is connected to so many distractions.
For most writing (articles/short stories), I tend to write my first drafts longhand and start editing as I enter them into the computer.
For NaNoWriMo (which is the only time I've written whole novels) I start on the keyboard most of the time. I switch to longhand when I'm feeling blocked up.
For work (tech writing) I do everything on the computer.

Shadow_Ferret
01-09-2007, 09:49 PM
I can't read my own writing. The only long hand I do is writing checks and even that's becoming few and far between thanks to debit cards. I'm actually losing the callous on my finger from lack of writing.

Not sure why you wouldn't expect your writing to be perfect if it's in pen versus on the computer. I try to put down the best I can at any given moment despite the medium I'm using.

Besides, I type so much faster than I could ever write. I can keep up with the flow of my thoughts without getting behind and then losing the whole train.

johnnysannie
01-09-2007, 09:51 PM
I may make notes in long hand but I write everything on the computer. Learned to do it on typewriters years ago and now if I try to write long hand, I can't keep up with my flow fast enough!

farfromfearless
01-09-2007, 09:53 PM
I like writing short stories in long hand and transcribing later on the computer. I find the process works better for short works rather than novels and such (I dread ever having to transcribe a WIP that long).

stormie
01-09-2007, 10:00 PM
I'd rather just type it directly onto the computer. I type faster than I write. Guess it's because I like/have to write neatly. (A little OCD poking through.) And for some reason, when I do put pen to paper, I get side-tracked easier than when I'm at the computer. My mind starts wandering. You'd think it'd be the opposite, but for me, it's not.

DeadlyAccurate
01-09-2007, 10:20 PM
Longhand is my preference, especially for long WIPs. Too distracting to be on the computer for me.

Freckles
01-09-2007, 10:31 PM
I use to only be able to write longhand, but now I've gotten used to this new-fangled thing known as the computer! Who knew?

Tiger
01-09-2007, 10:45 PM
Longhand writing keeps you sharp. Computers, while quick and easy, make me lazy. Everything from my spelling to my typing suffers if that's all I use.

I keep a nice, longhand journal.

RG570
01-09-2007, 10:51 PM
My handwriting is atrocious, and I was brought up with computers, so I do nothing in longhand. Well, that's not entirely true. Sometimes I'll do a short outline on paper, but I could never write the actual story like that. It would take twice as long to write out, and there'd be no guarantee that I'd be able to read it once it was finished.

PeeDee
01-09-2007, 10:53 PM
Neil Gaiman pointed out when he was editing the Sandman: Book of Dreams short story collection that some stories that should have been 3,000 word were coming at 6,000. It was part of what sent him back to writing by hand. Computers, I think, sometimes make the words come too easily.

When I write by hand, I write faster and more steadily than I do on the computer (in theory; I write pretty steadily on both these days) but ultimately, i produce less content and it takes longer.

The downside of writing for deadlines is, I haven't always the luxury of doing it on paper. Not if someone's expecting something Right Damn Now.

My handwriting improves the more I handwrite. I think my hand just settles into doing it again. Plus, I have to be able to read what I write well enough that it doesnt' trip me up when I go to type it.

That said, I don't keep perfect and beautiful notebooks. I'll write a chunk of a scene, then scribble out a line and write something else.

Something else fun to do: Get a journal that isn't lined. Write a story from one end, and then flip the journal over and start writing another story from the back. Or do two different colored inks. It's amusing.

PeeDee
01-09-2007, 10:53 PM
My handwriting is atrocious, and I was brought up with computers, so I do nothing in longhand. Well, that's not entirely true. Sometimes I'll do a short outline on paper, but I could never write the actual story like that. It would take twice as long to write out, and there'd be no guarantee that I'd be able to read it once it was finished.

This is exactly why, the more computers integrate in the world around me, the more inclined I am to handwrite certain things. I think complete dependency on a computer for my writing is not a good thing at all.

Sohia Rose
01-09-2007, 11:20 PM
I prefer to write longhand. I find myself tinkering too much with a computer draft. Sure, I mix up paragraph order, but I can get it out of my head. I have three WIP in leather-bound journals. :)

Beverly Lucey
01-09-2007, 11:45 PM
I can't read my own writing. The only long hand I do is writing checks and even that's becoming few and far between thanks to debit cards. I'm actually losing the callous on my finger from lack of writing.

Not sure why you wouldn't expect your writing to be perfect if it's in pen versus on the computer. I try to put down the best I can at any given moment despite the medium I'm using.

Besides, I type so much faster than I could ever write. I can keep up with the flow of my thoughts without getting behind and then losing the whole train.
It's been a long winding transition for me. I used to think that something important in the process happened when I moved my rough paper draft onto my screen, editing all the way. But when I hand write to keep up with my mind, my penmanship goes down the tubes. "Sample grasping? Ideal switch of raisins?" I had no clue. Then I started losing things--folders, notebooks, sales slips with great ideas on them. THEN, despite a few fingers that tilt in odd directions, I realized I could type much faster than handwrite without getting cramps. That makes me a convert to the Temple of the Machine. Handwriting is for behaving badly in meetings (by starting a story instead of listening to a bad presentation) car rides (because it takes twelve whole hours to get to a beach from Arkansas) and public places (when I get to eavesdrop with impunity).

Carrie in PA
01-09-2007, 11:50 PM
No way. I hate writing longhand, always have. Of course I did it, but now I won't unless I have to. My handwriting is bad, so I have to concentrate on my actual writing, and it's next to impossible to keep a story flowing when I'm using valuable (and limited, ha ha) brainpower on penmanship.

I make notes by hand, I make grocery lists by hand, but anything much longer than that? No.

pink lily
01-10-2007, 12:05 AM
I write poetry and lyrics longhand on lined paper. Old habits die hard. But I do everything else on the computer. (Count me in with the messy handwriting crowd.)

I do print drafts and edit them by hand, then retype the changes.

MajorDrums
01-10-2007, 12:14 AM
With writing longhand, I find that I can just write without worrying if a sentence is perfect or not. When writing on the comp, I can go over 1 sentence over and over until I'm satisfied before moving on. I probably need to time how long each process (longhand, then comp vs. comp alone) to see which actually takes me longer to complete my work.

johnzakour
01-10-2007, 12:52 AM
I can barely write checks by hand anymore.... I need my computer. If it wasn't for computers I would be in a diferent line of work.

My hat is off to Shakespeare...

victoriastrauss
01-10-2007, 01:28 AM
I stopped writing most things in longhand the minute I got my first typewriter, which I think was when I was 18. Never looked back. I'm with you, John--if I had to write a novel in longhand, I probably wouldn't.

- Victoria

RJLeahy
01-10-2007, 01:35 AM
This is exactly why, the more computers integrate in the world around me, the more inclined I am to handwrite certain things. I think complete dependency on a computer for my writing is not a good thing at all.


Could not have said it better. I started a letter writing campaign among friends several years ago, in which we write each other at least twice a year--by hand. These are generally long letters on nice stationary and include discussions on topical subjects, as well as things of a personal matter. We do this for two reasons:

1) Nothing helps focus the mind more than sitting down with pen and paper and forming the right words prior to committing them. It's becoming a lost art, I fear.

2) I hate the idea that we're losing a vital source of history. Imagine how much less we'd know of or ancestors, if not for their collection of written letters. I know, email can save too, but I don't trust anything that can be altered by some technologically sophisticated twelve-year old. :)

PeeDee
01-10-2007, 01:43 AM
the thing that got me going on handwriting, among other things, was after i'd been using typewriters and computers for years, I sat down to do a bit of a story by hand....and mostly, I fidgeted, I was uncomfortable with what came out, and I was impatient and frazzled. I didn't like that I was losing the ability to write like that, if I so chose. So I worked at it.

These days, I can wander. I can write pretty much any old way. Except telekenetically. I haven't gotten the gist of that quite yet.

Kate Thornton
01-10-2007, 01:59 AM
I used to love to write longhand - then I lost the use of my hand. I love the keyboard - it lets me continue to write when, in another time, my writing days would be over.

I miss it sometimes...

TrainofThought
01-10-2007, 02:19 AM
I wrote my story longhand and keep going back to it during revisions. I do my revisions on the computer but if I run into a block I grab a notebook and pen. My thoughts flow better using longhand.

Ms.Write
01-10-2007, 03:23 AM
I just started a new novel and I'm doing the first draft in long hand, gazing out a large picture window at the library. I have written earlier novels directly on the computer but somehow this works for me.

When I get home I put everything on the computer. I'm a fast typist so it doesn't take long.

I think maybe it has to do with all the distractions I have on the computer (email, etc.) which sometimes leads me away from the writing.

Anyway there isn't any right or wrong in this, only what works for you now. I do believe in the importance of the right materials, though, like a good pen and a solid notebook.

Shades of Humanity
01-10-2007, 03:31 AM
I brainstorm with a pen and paper. I love my mangled notebook brimming with ideas and doodles.

When it comes to actually writing the novel, I have to use the computer. I'm much, much faster typing.

BiggerBoat
01-10-2007, 03:33 AM
I like the idea of writing longhand, but I hold pencils and pens in a strange grip that ends up giving me big callouses. I've got a callous on my thumb from all the time I spent writing on yellow legal pads thirty years ago. It's something I can't unlearn, despite the best efforts of my 3rd grade teacher.

I primarily use an Alphasmart Neo, which helps with the distraction and editing urges.

Mud Dauber
01-10-2007, 05:12 AM
:popcorn:Cool thread!

I'm 50/50 on my answer. Before my laptop crashed on me, I would have wholeheartedly told you I preferred the computer. But then, right in the peak of my inspiration, the stupid thing died. Had to send it off for 5 business days.:e2faint: Didn't think I could live without it. I walked around like a miserable soul, complaining to everyone that I was so bored without working on my story. Then one bright, beautiful day a friend of mine asked me if I thought about writing it in longhand until I got my laptop back. What the...? Followed by, Pfft! (My handwriting is so bad I can't even write notes to my kids' teachers anymore.) Still, writing longhand would be the better option over not writing at all, so I gave it a try. Lo and behold... I had an out of body experience once I started. J/K, but I was amazed at the connection I felt with my story, once I got going with longhand.

I ended up writing several chapters that way and when I got my computer back, instead of feeling like I had my old friend, I was sad to leave my rumpled up Mead spiral and Dixon Ticonderogas (gotta be pencil for me, btw, I might be the only freak who prefers them to pens) by the wayside. So now, I do a combination of both. Longhand definitely helps me sort out my thoughts more clearly. Yes, I can type much faster, but sometimes I think that's a bad thing. Slowing down and really thinking about what I'm about to hand-write has helped writer's block many a time. Plus *cough* I can't get to AW from my Mead spiral.

It was a liberating experience, learing I could get along without my laptop and the world of the internet. Incidentally, my laptop has been sent out four more times (that's a WHOLE other rant:rant: ) after that initial shocker, so I'm quite happy to know I can pick up in longhand without missing a beat.

PeeDee
01-10-2007, 05:14 AM
I ended up writing several chapters that way and when I got my computer back, instead of feeling like I had my old friend, I was sad to leave my rumpled up Mead spiral and Dixon Ticonderogas (gotta be pencil for me, btw, I might be the only freak who prefers them to pens) by the wayside. So now, I do a combination of both. Longhand definitely helps me sort out my thoughts more clearly. Yes, I can type much faster, but sometimes I think that's a bad thing. Slowing down and really thinking about what I'm about to hand-write has helped writer's block many a time. Plus *cough* I can't get to AW from my Mead spiral.

1) I like pencils, but use pens because I'm left handed. Pencils make the side of my hand silver and shiney. Pens don't (nor do they smudge. For me.)

2) That's sort of a good thing, you know, when you're writing. :)

Shades of Humanity
01-10-2007, 05:19 AM
1) I like pencils, but use pens because I'm left handed. Pencils make the side of my hand silver and shiney. Pens don't (nor do they smudge. For me.)
:)

Heh, I'm left handed as well but my pens always smear. It's easier for me to wash off the lead shine than the pen ink ;)

PeeDee
01-10-2007, 05:21 AM
Most lefties I know would absolutely agree with you. It's just a me thing.

Vincent
01-10-2007, 05:23 AM
Sometimes. Usually when I'm on the train.

And for whatever reason, being on a train really gets me in the mood to write.

Mud Dauber
01-10-2007, 05:32 AM
1) I like pencils, but use pens because I'm left handed. Pencils make the side of my hand silver and shiney. Pens don't (nor do they smudge. For me.)


The things I'm learning here, I tell ya!

Mud Dauber
01-10-2007, 05:36 AM
And for whatever reason, being on a train really gets me in the mood to write.

Isn't it amazing, what a change of scenery can do for the mind? I should test out the train theory; it sounds enticing! Think of the people-watching opportunities!

jennifer75
01-10-2007, 05:42 AM
Does anyone else find it easier to write with a pen and a paper than using a computer? When I use the computer, it seems like I expect everything to be perfect the first time, but with paper and pen, I just write. I think it might come from my day job where everything I write really does have to almost perfect the first time I do it.

So, which do you prefer? Long hand or computer?

I'm much faster on the computer. I write very slowly and sloppily. I get more out on the computer. As fast as I think of something I can have it down. Writing takes longer, and I stop to nibble the pen while I think. More daydreaming if I'm writing on paper.

jennifer75
01-10-2007, 05:43 AM
Isn't it amazing, what a change of scenery can do for the mind? I should test out the train theory; it sounds enticing! Think of the people-watching opportunities!


However, I've done quite well on the train with a notepad.

Arisa81
01-11-2007, 12:36 AM
I love writing long hand, but these days I only really only write poetry and greeting card verse full in long hand. I used to do articles and stories longhand too, but it got to be time consuming, so what I will do is create the title and all major points on paper and when I am ready to write it I can do that on the computer. I think faster than I write anyway, so I need to type.

engmajor2005
01-11-2007, 03:29 AM
Everyone should write their first novel out by hand. You'll learn more about writing that way than every book in the 800s section can ever teach. It slows down the thought process, gives you a ready-made place to make notes, and really, REALLY tests your dedication.

With that being said, I do most writing on computer. I do character sketches, excercises, and poems by hand, but every fiction and non-fiction is all done almost exclusively on computer.

It saves storage space, trees, and time. I type exponentially faster than I write, so I can keep up with my thoughts better. Plus, it's easier to edit.

Oddly enough though, I love journals. A good, well-made journal is a pleasure to hold, even if I never write in it. I love pens as well, but not fancy ones. The Pilot G2 fine point is the greatest pen on Earth.

engmajor2005
01-11-2007, 03:34 AM
But then, right in the peak of my inspiration, the stupid thing died. Had to send it off for 5 business days.

Incidentally, my laptop has been sent out four more times (that's a WHOLE other rant:rant: ) ...

Somebody's using a PC running Windows. :)

Just $1,000 to go for my Macbook...

Tiger
01-11-2007, 03:34 AM
I've a bit of a fountain pen fetish. My handwriting isn't beautiful, but I am very expressive with it.

One other thing that suffers is the fact that people are no longer accustomed to reading cursive script. Maybe someday, cursive will turn into one of those quaint anachronisms around which people form clubs, or pass secret notes.

Little Red Barn
01-11-2007, 03:37 AM
I go back and forth...but I prefer the pen...lets me doodle in between thoughts! :)

Amethyst
01-11-2007, 03:48 AM
I handwrite a lot of notes, outlines, and such, but writing writing I need to do at a keyboard. For me, handwriting is too slow and my hands itch to type. The words flow fast and non-consciously, almost like channeling. It's lovely and I wouldn't want to give that up.

The tactile sensation of writing with one of my fountain pens on luscious paper (like Clairefontaine) is still one of my great pleasures, just not for creating fiction.

TheIT
01-11-2007, 04:01 AM
I tend to prefer writing longhand when composing. Something about moving pen across paper helps keep the thoughts coming, and I'm not constrained to neat rows of letters marching across the screen. Scribbled out words and arrows can be fun. Plus, there's something inherently satisfying about filling up yet another notebook. ;)

I also take shortcuts when writing longhand. Sometimes I'll write just enough to get the sense of the section down then keep going so I leave enough room for my imagination to play later. When I type what I've written into the computer, it becomes in essence a first revision. I expand what I skimped on, and rearrange and cut what needs to be trimmed.

For brainstorming sessions, I have to write longhand. Trying to force nebulous questions into neat linear words on the computer hampers my ability to let the ideas flow.

A. Hamilton
01-11-2007, 04:19 AM
I handwrite my notes brainstorming sessions, but my writing is terrible. I do the brunt of my work on the computer. I do get caught up in editing as I go, but even so I still find I'm more prolific using the com[uter.
Even with correspondence. I've been in snail mail pen pal groups before and felt like a cheater using the computer, but I wrote more often (and legible!) that way.

wmd
01-11-2007, 04:49 AM
I prefer to write on my computer because it is faster for me and a lot neater and easier to read. I still like to write longhand, but I only do it when I am writing in my journal or editing an already written piece of work.

Again, I prefer computer over longhand, but to go a step further I prefer laptop over desktop.

Jenny
01-11-2007, 04:54 AM
I'm so glad to hear other people love fountain pens. I'm a recent convert. Ahem, clears throat

"I'll Use No More a Ball-point"

So, I'll use no more a ball-point
To pen immortal verse,
Though the ball-point holds its point
And the ink ne'er leaks -- or worse!

For the fountain pen outflows
The science of the ball-point,
And the fountain pen well knows
A poet's vagrant viewpoint.

Though the ball-point be contemp'ry
And the fountain pen sae old
When writing peerless poetry
A fountain pen I'll hold.

And yeah, Byron's cringing in his grave.

BlueTexas
01-11-2007, 07:20 AM
I outline longhand in pencil. I journal longhand with a pen - a roller ball or no pen. Zebra Sarasas are the best, though increasingly hard to find. But "real" writing is on a computer or my AlphaSmart because I think faster than my pen.

Most of the time, anyway. Lately more and more is longhand away from my desk and distractions.

ThinkOnItDevotions
01-11-2007, 11:41 PM
How great is this? I was just thinking about posting something to see if anyone else is like me. I journal/writing with pen and paper regularly, but I also write via computer. I've started to notice how pen and paper is so much more intimate while the compute maybe quick because I type fast, it lacks something from the "connected" sense. Does that sense to anyone else?

PeeDee
01-11-2007, 11:45 PM
Given just some paper and a pen, I've always thought it's easier to convince yourself that the story you're writing isn't quite "real," yet, which takes the pressure off and lets you produce whatever you need to produce.

I like that, too.

Sohia Rose
01-12-2007, 12:02 AM
How great is this? I was just thinking about posting something to see if anyone else is like me. I journal/writing with pen and paper regularly, but I also write via computer. I've started to notice how pen and paper is so much more intimate while the compute maybe quick because I type fast, it lacks something from the "connected" sense. Does that sense to anyone else?


That's exactly how I feel.

Mud Dauber
01-12-2007, 12:09 AM
How great is this? I was just thinking about posting something to see if anyone else is like me. I journal/writing with pen and paper regularly, but I also write via computer. I've started to notice how pen and paper is so much more intimate while the compute maybe quick because I type fast, it lacks something from the "connected" sense. Does that sense to anyone else?
Absolutely (see my lengthier post a few back). I read an interview with an author once and she said she always wrote her novel in longhand first, b/c she felt more of a connection. At that time, I hadn't tried it yet for myself and thought she was cuckoo. But now that I've not only tried it, but loved it, I have to say, she's right. You just don't get that connection with the computer. Weird. But others seem to agree, so maybe not so much!;)