Pen and Pad vs Laptop

I ink therefore I am (sort of..) – Not Rene Descartes

Maybe it’s the screen glare. The change of location and habit. Analogue vs digital. But lately I have been writing some short stories with pen on pad and despite the fact I need to type it up afterwards, doubling the actual writing process, I enjoy the feel of physical writing sometimes, and it has a different thought process to it, I tend to linger on a sentence – a word – longer, and think through what it is I am creating in a more concentrated way.

Hammering on QWERTY keys, is still the modus operandi, but the familiar scratching of nib traversing the ruled pages has benefits other than those mentioned above. Studies have shown that writing also helps to embed in our memories that which we have inked, our recall improves when trying to learn, and in the context of creative writing, I feel that my words do indeed stick in the mind more, while giving my characters and descriptions more emphasis. I recommend trying it if you don’t already.

I know some writers still pen novels longhand, and while it seems an arduous process, I don’t doubt there are benefits. How do you write? What do you prefer?

24 Comments

  1. Nice post!

    I do mostly use my laptop but there are times when you feel the need to escape into your story and you can’t do that with a laptop in front of you. It feels too ‘connected’ to the outside world.
    Therefore, I find there is something appealing about picking up a pen and paper and I’m glad someone feels the same!

  2. I like to use both. I tend to be more inspirational when I write with pen and paper. I love investing in a great looking notebook & pen and then letting my imagination go. On a PC, smartphone etc I often get distracted & start searching the net etc, plus you get the glare making you tired.

  3. Well, I kind of use both. Though I prefer pen and paper but that thing of writing and then typing it seems tedious, so I am kind of hopper between the two! πŸ™‚
    Lion, how do you write such poems! 😜

  4. Lol…lovely poemπŸ˜‚
    I wrote my first novel in longhand, using a pile of erasures in the process, then had to type it into the computer. Didn’t do that again. But I write all poetry on paper before entering into the computer.

  5. I’m one of those writers that uses both. Ask my wife and she will tell you that even when we are out eating I will take pen and paper (often a napkin) and write. This may be a scene for a story or it may be ideas for marketing. I think it helps me not only remember but to think things out. At the very least I am inspired. Afterwards I go to the computer and start typing in the words, often changing things as I go. So it is a two-part process that seems to work well for me.

  6. I wrote my first novel completely by hand in notebooks. There were pros and cons. One of the pros was that, when I typed it in, it was like doing a first edit of the manuscript. I fixed things that I had done wrong while writing it. The biggest con is that I had to type it in. My left-handed handwriting is horrible and I often couldn’t make out my own chicken scratch. I’ve moved to typing my work completely.

  7. I tend to get my initial ideas as well as large portions of my first drafts written on paper. I rarely complete a full draft in pen, but I often write a significant amount. It’s my way of letting my ideas flow from my mind into a physical form, and I view those lines and pages as a “pre-first draft”. It does add to the writing process, of course, but I love going about it in this way.

  8. I have a mixture of both but… I prefer pen and pad. But I also have this plan on purchasing something through Wacom that can take what is written on a pad and put it in the phone/tablet. I’ll let you know how it goes if I ever get it. That $160 price tag is pretty high, as I imagine all the other needs that money can pay for haha

    1. Those gizmos seem like a great idea, not sure how they work in practice. There’s also notepaper that when you scan it the lines dissapear, so all you see is the handwriting – not sure if there is software to recognise it and turn it into editable text though.

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