Friday, January 25, 2013

Pen vs. Keyboard

So here it is, the biggest question faced by every 21st-Century writer: do I write in longhand (or, in my case, a nearly unreadable scrawl developed out of years of note-taking and an utter inability to master cursive*)?  or do I boot up the computer, try to ignore the mind-sucking siren call of the internet, and draft my next book on the keyboard?

Advantages of the pen:
1.  Engages the whole body with the brain and makes me think a little differently.  Slows me down, makes me think before I write.
2.  I can haul my little notebook everywhere, and write in any spare moment.  I actually do this, often better than I do sitting at home during my designated writing time.
3.  Typing it into the computer so I can edit is an editing process in itself and a good way to jumpstart each day's writing.
4.  I'm not sure there is a #4.

Disadvantages of the pen:
1.  I may not be able to read what I wrote.
2.  I can't write for very long before my hand cramps up.
3.  I can't write as fast as I can type, or think (see Advantage #1).
4.  It all has to be typed anyway before I can edit.

Advantages of the keyboard:
1.  I can type really fast, so it encourages me to write lots and get it out when the ideas are flowing.
2.  I can read what I wrote.
3.  It corrects my spelling/typing as I go, or at least tells me it needs correcting.
4.  It's automatically saved and backed up.

Disadvantages of the keyboard:
1.  I can type really fast, so it encourages me to write lots without stopping to think.
2.  I can't easily haul it around and write wherever I happen to be.
3.  It distracts me from writing by telling me that I can't type/spell.  I can so.  I'm just in a hurry.
4.  I think differently at the keyboard, and once written, it all looks so nice and pretty, it must be good.
5.  (This one is big): My keyboard is connected to my computer which is connected to the Internet.  I'll just read one more article. . . .

So what is my decision?  Back and forth, some of each.  In other words, I can't make up my mind. Anyone else have notebooks with chunks of stories, missing the bits that were drafted at the computer?

*Cursive (n): a style of writing named for the cursing that children do while learning it and teachers do while teaching it.  Writers also curse while trying to read it, especially their own, especially when written while lying half upside down and overdosed on caffeine.

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