Thursday, April 5, 2012

Electronic Blowout

There are times when I swear by my laptop, desktop, and word processing programs to get my writing done. In fact, I used to entirely insist on using electronics to write, but then my laptop crashed. At home, I could still write on my desktop (Since it was NaNoWriMo, I needed that speed quite desperately, too.) but I was pen and paper when I left the house. I have to tell you, it's different. For so long, that's why I so preferred to write on my electronics—typing, I could get my ideas out almost as fast as they came to me.

However, that forced stint back to handwritten fiction kind of opened my eyes again, and hearing a fellow writer praise hand-writing really got me back to thinking on the differences.

Any more, if I feel like my prose is a bit lackluster, kind of just going through the motions to get from A to B, I unplug, go grab pen an paper, and throw my scene together. Why? Because, on paper, words are much more permanent, at least to our minds. You have to put more time into each word, which means more thought, which means that you're forced to sort of slow down and smell the literary roses. It makes prose more vibrant, more intelligent, and simply feel different.

Plus it's much more portable. Sure, you can take a laptop around anywhere, but they run low on power, take time to get going, and draw a whole lot of attention, whereas a notepad and a pen only need to be changed when you run out of ink and/or paper, only needs to be opened to work, and can be done subtly enough that you don't have hundreds of eyes staring at you in the supermarket.

Plus, look at pen and paper—it has an excellent track record, don't you think? Everything written by William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Edgar Allen Poe was pen (or quill) and paper. I'd like to think they're all pretty well known, fairly successful authors. Following in the footsteps of such greats can also make you feel kind of like you're on the right track, as though it's a parallel to fame, like following the Lewis and Clark trail.

Of course, if I'm going for that writerly feel, there's one thing above either the computer or the pen and paper option: the typewriter. That, of course, is another story to be told another time.

Pioneer writing, anyone?


Kate said...

Another great post.

Frances Pauli said...

Handwriting definitely changes the feel of my prose. You nailed it. :)
I'll tell you a secret about that typewriter theory though....I was trained on an old manual, learned to type by site on one and never did have a "keyboard" until much later.
But a few years ago we found this amazing, lime-green, retro vintage manual typewriter with stand and I just had to have it....until I tried to type. Not one letter came out. I couldn't hit the bloody keys hard enough to make the little arm make contact.
We must have had very muscular fingers in the olden-days. :D

wish I could have, it was such a sweet machine!

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

I write some short stories by hand, but usually what I use pen and paper for is brainstorming. I find my thoughts move differently depending on what I'm using to capture them, and sorting out the details that way really helps.

Great post!


Sherri Lackey said...

I keep at least two hand written journals plus several small notebooks for jotting down quick idea, plot lines, etc.

KarenG said...

I won't go back to the typewriter-- I can't stand the ribbon and ink issues-- but I do love writing by hand.

Nice to meet you and I hope you're enjoying the Challenge.

A to Z Challenge Host