Mightier than the Keyboard

Ben V.

Now that Christian has started off the new year with his first story, I thought it would be nice to tell you why mine isn’t done yet.  If you had the opportunity to read the Reintroduction (https://myadventureworlds.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/29/), and the last post on my other blog (http://benwltp.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/the-resurfacing/), you’ll remember that I mentioned that I have a story to type up.  “Type up,” you may have asked yourself, while scratching your head in confusion.  How else would someone write something other than by typing it?

I actually have a typewriter very similar to this one. (Stolen image).

One of the many idiosyncrasies that makes me so interesting, (and difficult), is that I like to write things out longhand before I type them.  It may sound to you, as it does to some of my friends, to be a pain in the ass, (my friends will be quick to tell you I am a pain in their ass), but I find I am much more productive writing by hand.

I’m not saying that something magical happens and I can sit down and write for hours when I have a nice pen and a notebook, (though I do have a nice pen, and I am one of those people who uses a Moleskine), but I will say that I feel more of a connection with what I write when I’m putting pen to paper than when I’m clacking away at a keyboard.  It means things take me longer to finish, (and some wicked hand cramps when I get excited and try to write too much too fast), but it also means an integrated editing system when I actually get around to typing it up.  I can do some minor edits and see some of the places where I get off track.

There is also a freedom I find when writing by hand.  I can circle a sentence and draw and arrow to where I think it should go, I can fill in the margins and doodle the way I imagine a scene to play out.  I know there are those of you who will point out that by typing it out in the first place you can simply cut and paste a sentence into the place you think it can go, but one of my biggest problems with writing is that I have a hard time not editing as I go.  It’s much worse when I am typing, simply because I can spend all my time cutting and pasting and with the click of a button I can be on the web, looking up a word or place.  It takes me out of my writing, and I don’t need the extra distraction.  With a pen in my hand, it can just be me and the words, and it doesn’t hurt that I know I am going to have a chance to fix things when I type it up.  Puts my mind at ease, and I can just add a (fix this later) when I can’t find the perfect word to fit the sentence.

For me it’s all about getting myself to spending the time writing, and writing by hand helps me use that time to get words down on the page.  Now I just have to find the time to type it out.

What do you think? How do you do your writing? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 comments

  1. Well, in your defence, you’re only a pain in the ass SOME of the time. Ha-ha.

    As you know, I’m a type kind of writer. I need a computer to write. Then it becomes just me and the keys, and I can let the words flow out. That really is the product of on-line roleplaying for over 15 years, however. It’s gotten me super comfortable with the computer and writing with it.

  2. I do a combination. I like to jot down all of my main ideas by hand and scribble little notes all over the page and in between my points until it’s almost becomes difficult to read or follow at all. After I feel I have completely exhausted the idea forming process (or brainstorming), I then take it to the computer to let the words flow. From this point on I find it a simple process to cut, paste, edit, etc.

  3. I used to write a lot by hand, and I still do from time to time. I have a bunch of filled up journals hidden under my bed. I switched to typing because it just goes so much faster. One thing that always used to frustrate me was I couldn’t get the thoughts down fast enough while hand-writing. I’m a bit sad about it though, because I love a nice notebook and a nice pen and the art of hand-writing. Perhaps I should switch back.

  4. I’m excited to see the comments. I guess I touched on something (I hope I did at least). I’m not going to lie, I do love the romantic aspect of writing in a notebook. Makes me think of Hemingway or someone from that era sitting in a Parisian cafe writing masterpieces. I do feel it is how I best write though. The proof is in the content, I have been able to write much more by hand. And like some of you have said about the pace, it does force me to be more particular in my choices. That’s not always a bad thing.

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