Friday, September 25, 2009

Write or Type? -- Payne

On The Word Guild discussion forum a question was posed about whether, as writers, we preferred to type or handwrite our first drafts. I prefer to write on lined paper in a three-ring binder, then transcribe onto computer and edit as I type.

Carolyn Wilker agrees, “I still often write an early draft by hand, for poetry and prose, as thoughts come to me. Sometimes my typing fingers just cannot keep up with the words that come. Then I go to the computer to finish writing and revising.”

However, Benjamin Collier prefers typing over handwriting. “Ever since I discovered my gift of writing I've been doing it all on computer. The development of my stories takes a lot of editing, organizing and rearranging that would just turn into a big mess of scribbles on paper. I even had to start journaling on the computer instead of writing my journal by hand, not because of organizing but because my knuckles started to ache whenever I spent too much time handwriting.”

Darlene Oakley does not share this same problem. “I find I still have that attachment to paper. My ideas feel more real when I've written them down. I may add to them later, on-screen, but I need the physicality of writing them down.”

Like me, Audrey Dorsch can type faster than she can write by longhand. “For me, it's easier to get my thoughts out by keyboarding them right into the computer. Also, I hate doing things twice, and transcribing my written work seems like duplication of effort.”

Aimee Reid shared, “I find writing and editing to be somewhat different processes. When I am gathering ideas and organizing my thoughts I tend to jot notes down longhand. My creative juices flow better. When I'm in front of a computer screen my brain can too easily switch into editing mode. Like Audrey, though, I don't like to duplicate my efforts. I only write longhand to prime my pump. Then I go to the computer to draft. And I revise as I go. Of course, then I let the writing cool and come back to it again . . . and again . . . and still again as many times as I need to. I've learned when I need to move away from the keyboard and then back to it. “

Kathie Chiu prefers typing over hand-writing, but she misses the process of writing in longhand. She wrote, “There's something much more creative about pencil/pen and paper. I imagine some of the greatest classics of all time... written longhand. I cannot imagine how Jane Austen wrote Pride & Prejudice on sheets of paper using a quill and ink! We take our conveniences for granted.”

There is certainly nothing right or wrong about longhand versus keyboarding. So, tell us, what is your preference?


Peter Black said...

This is a most interesting piece.
What a great variety of writing preferences and modi operandi!
Personally, I do a bit of both, depending on the circumstances.
My handwriting deteriorates after a while, and then I become frustrated when transcribing my notes to the computer... Hmm.

Kimberley Payne said...

Ah yes. My writing has a tendency to make me ask if I shouldn't have rather taken a profession as a doctor? :)

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