Friday, November 04, 2011

When the Pen Isn't Mightier #NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo post : When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

I learned to type early, thanks to a mom who taught high school typing class. I would sit in her classroom after school typing up library cards for my own books!

By the time I went to college I was a fast touch typist, often hitting over 100 wpm with accuracy in the 90%. (note, this has decreased as I have learned to incorporate the backspace key into my typing, and touch screens slow me down considerably).

Still, I type much faster than I write by hand, so I prefer to brainstorm and draft right on the computer, where my hands can actually keep up with my thoughts!

I'm also the kind of writer who likes to throw down thoughts on the page and work and rework the as I go. My revisions on paper turn into a mass of arrows, cross-outs, inserted lines...a mess. Another reason typing as I write works better for me, because I can edit and revise as I go. So far as being neat, prolific, and finishing work on a deadline go, computer drafting is mightier than the pen!

The drawback to typing my writing is I never have a record of my path to a final draft. Every file could represent hundreds of revisions, stops and starts forever erased. A somewhat sterile piece seemingly springing fully-formed off the page. It's for this reason that despite my preference for drafting on the keyboard, I also keep a writer's notebook for jotting ideas, and sometimes will handwrite a short piece or two in a writing workshop.

No question, the computer offers writers distinct advantages, yet I still believe there's an important writerly connection to be found in the act of putting pen to paper.

What do you think? Prefer to write by hand/pen or on the computer?

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