Lately, I've decided to write a novel. But I am undecided whether to write it on paper or on computer. Any writer will agree that staring long hour at the computer is very tiring. Writing on paper will give my eyes a break and I've tried on and off to write with a 2B pencil again. However, my left hand aches easily and makes writing legibly difficult. Anyway, I saw this notebook yesterday and imagined my writing filling up the pages. I bought it. The notebook was too inviting.
"Writing on the page stays on the page, with its scribbles and rewrites and long arrows suggesting a sentence or paragraph be moved, and can be looked over and reconsidered. Writing on the screen is far more ephemeral – a sentence deleted can't be reconsidered. Also, you know, the internet."
"Even Socrates said don't write it down or we'll forget it... good job Plato did or we may have forgotten both of them."
"Vladimir Nabokov wrote his novels on notecards before writing the whole thing out in full, which he would then have his secretary typed."
"I find that the action of handwriting not only causes me to consider more, but also leads to more ideas. I also spell significantly better. Whereas when typing I always make several silly mistakes (and have to run the whole thing through spell-check) when handwriting I have one or two misspellings per page. I think the reason for this is mostly muscle memory. Whereas on a computer you are disconnected from the letters that you type in sequence, when handwriting you are very aware of the words and the rhythm of them."
"Paper notebooks are easily transported, permanent, and they do not need a battery or electricity (or repeated recharging) .
"...a big problem with computers is the ability to edit as you type. Sometimes I am writing at a speed of one word per minute because I delete and replace each word 60 times. This is actually a very
inefficient way to write if you think about it."
"As a seventeen year old aspiring novelist, I certainly hope that pen-on-paper writers aren't a dying breed! Being an English, History and Philosophy A-level student, I usually have to write up to three 2,000 word essays per week. Computers, for me, have just become a quick and lazy way of meeting
deadlines. Of course it's easier and faster to type your work, with the aid of the wonderful "spell check" and the internet offering you myriad sources of inspiration, but where's the fun in that?"
"Think of all the long arduous hours spent with your eyes glued to a bright screen, arched over a
keyboard...by the end, your back and neck ache, your eyes are straining and your legs and bum have fallen asleep...where's the pleasure in that? Writing on paper is much better for your health, and for your art."
"My handwriting is atrocious, and when I write in longhand it doesn't seem like good writing at all - stupid I know, but there is a mental displeasure for me when I see my own handwriting."
"I don't mind the process of transferring work to a computer - I think it's a valuable part of the process, but am careful to use an old computer with no internet on."
"If your notebook is lost or stolen, there goes the only hard copy of your work. Digital copies can be endlessly backed up and synched so that the loss of any particular gizmo is irrelevant."
"If I start in longhand, I soon have to move to a screen because I revise and cross out so much, I can't read it. Also I sometimes get blocked in longhand and find moving to screen frees my ideas."
"Ideas, sentences and snippets all go in to my notebook, but the actual writing is done on a computer. It's easier to play with and edit your writing on a computer."
"I make all my notes on my iPhone now and have found it really liberating, I don't need to remember to pack pens, pencils, paper or index cards which I used to use obsessively. The notes I make can be emailed to myself and copied and inserted into whatever text I happen to be working on...In fact I
find writing with a pen on paper has a constipating effect on me."
"I have long since given up using pen and paper. I have dysgraphia and that makes my hand-writing illegible. Illegible not just to others but to myself."
"I would love to write longhand but it hurts my hand and my handwriting scares children. Both probably connected to the way I hold the pen."
"There is an implicit and intellectual snobbery in the belief that good writing can only be done with a pen and paper. Medieval monastic scribes may have produced beautiful books but most of them were illiterate and simply copying marks made in an earlier book. Before that became popular I guess the stone masons probably argued that good writing could only be done with hammer
and chisel on stone. Earlier, the writers of Linear B would say that good writing could only be achieved with pointed stick and clay tablets. And further back still that only a painting on a cave wall should be considered acceptable."
"I still like writing by hand. Normally I do a first draft using pen and paper, and then do my first edit when I type it onto my computer. For some reason, I much prefer writing with a black pen than a blue one, and in a perfect world I'd always use "narrow feint" writing paper. But I have been known to write on all sorts of weird things when I didn't have a notepad with me. The names of the Hogwarts Houses were created on the back of an aeroplane sick bag. Yes, it was empty."