Pen and paper

Pen or Computer…That is the Question

I’ve always hand written my stories. There’s something about the feel of pen and paper that speaks to my creative processes. However, as I work on my next novel, I keep trying to write it on my computer. It’s obviously faster than handwriting and, if I can get my brain to accept this form of writing, I might be able to finish a rough draft in half the time it’s taken me in the past.

But I keep walking away feeling like the writing lacks a depth I’ve had in the past. Do my fingers just move too fast for my creative mind? Am I forcing myself to write off the top of my head instead of actually crafting my sentences? I’m not sure. I am finding that sometimes I walk away with a headache and all the desire to write has drained out of my fingertips.

Recently, my sister shared this tedtalk by Jake Weidmann with me. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend it. A part of his talk addresses the fact that handwriting engages parts of the brain that typing does not. Perhaps this is why the writing feels different to me when I’m working with a computer versus pen and paper.

Or perhaps my brain is just stubborn and I need to push through. I’m not sure yet, but I’m finding my current writing process encompasses a smattering of both computer and pen with paper. Somewhere in there, there’s a balance. I’ve just yet to find it.

How about you? Do you prefer pen and paper or a computer?



15 thoughts on “Pen or Computer…That is the Question”

  1. I only ever write on my computer, but I should probably give pen and paper a try sometime. Maybe it’ll unlock something new! Hope you manage to find your balance!

  2. I used to handwrite the first draft of all my stories (any excuse to collect colorful pens, lol), but having kids makes it much harder to get it all typed up afterwards.

  3. When I was a kid and during part of my teen years, I always started with hand writing and loved typing it up and adding more details. But then my hand started to not be able to keep up with my brain, so I had to move to writing on a computer. I can’t tell if it’s had an impact since my writing has matured from my childhood days of writing by hand, but, if I could trust my youngest to not write all over my pages while I’m writing, I might try it again! There’s something really beautiful about sitting with a pen and paper and slowly getting stories down on the page. I just hope my hand is up to it, haha!

    1. I can see how having kids might tilt the scales towards a computer, at least for awhile 🙂

      The tedtalk actually talks about old style handwriting where you write with wrist motions more than small finger motions. Apparently it’s easier on the hands 🤷‍♀️ I’ve tried it a little but it would definitely take a lot of practice to change old habits, so I can’t say yet if it’s easier on the hands 🙂

      1. If you ever find out, I’d love to know! When I was younger, I experimented with different ways of writing and using my hands and wrists, but I think my fingers just don’t like being kept in one position for long. I do miss writing by hand, though. It’s so much easier to flip back through notebooks instead of turning on a computer and hunting files down.

    1. Lol 😂 I could see how using a computer could make a pen obsolete. I just can’t quite seem to let it go. Something about the thought of sitting with a cup of coffee on the porch with a notebook excites me more than a cup of coffee with a computer 🤷‍♀️

  4. Always find a hand written note so much better but when looking and the size of your project, speed may be the deciding factor

  5. For speed computer and keyboard. For style pen to paper (so to speak), and it does seem to engage something within.

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