Pen and paper or computer?

United States
March 26, 2007 5:25pm CST
When writing stories (either for fun, publication, both, or for school work) do you feel more comfortable getting it down on paper first (literally) or do you enjoy typing your text into a computer software program such as Microsoft Word? Academic writing was always easier for me to do with just straight-typing, but I seem to be a better creative writer when I use the pen and paper and notebook method then type into the computer. It seems like the "artist" me likes writing by hand whereas the "business" me enjoys the computer because I can edit and get spelling and grammar checks. Anyone have these experiences or different feelings? Feel free to share.
10 people like this
51 responses
@Asheka (107)
• Canada
27 Mar 07
I currently write basically for pleasure, though in hopes for finding a publisher...I currently, only use pen and paper (well those excersise notebooks) and really don't like it much...I much prefer typing than hand writing, but cannot sit at my computer desk for that long..I'm getting a laptop, hopefully soon, for this though and cannot wait!
2 people like this
@Stringbean (1273)
• United States
26 Mar 07
It took me a long time to feel as though I could "think" as I wrote on the computer, but now I seldom write anything by hand. I do keep a notebook and pen in my purse in case I end up having to wait for something and have sketched out a few articles recently by pen, but I still feel like I get much more accomplished in less time on the computer.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Mar 07
I usually type everyone on my computer. If I'm away from the computer and don't have access to type anything, I'll settle for pen and paper. I'd be getting everything out of my head and onto paper so when it comes time to type, the chances of me forgetting it are slim to none that way.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Mar 07
To plan out my stories and such I write it on paper, but when I actually write the story I type it on the computer. It's a lot easier to catch mistakes that way and to change wording and add/delete things.
1 person likes this
@KupoSin (680)
• United States
27 Mar 07
i think computer is better, mainly because when i make a mistake or i need to add sometihng in i can easily change it. However, writing it is more like a hobby where u can take it and write on the go
1 person likes this
@tishabest (602)
• Belgium
27 Mar 07
It really depends the mood I am in and it's true that I do feel more creative when writing by hand, perhaps the jotting down or scribbling has that effect. I carry a notebook around with me which of course is easily accessible when I have an idea and the computer is simply a strain on my eyes.
1 person likes this
• Canada
27 Mar 07
I have the exact same thing as you do. When I open Microsoft Word and have a blank page in front of me, I cannot create no matter what. If I get ideas down with pen and paper, I can turn things around, toss ideas out and then usually I have the basics of a short story that I can play and twist things around as I type it into Microsoft Word. I actually have a blog with some of the Short Stories I've written on it. If you're interested, the link to it is http://dawnagan.wordpress.com/. Feedback would be appreciated.
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
27 Mar 07
Some years ago, I feel down the basement stairs and broke my wrists. Even though they were healed, I can no longer write by hand for any length of time. If you could see my journals, you will notice the difference in the handwriting, considerably deteriorated from what it once was if I write for more than five minutes. I do not have carpel tunnel syndrome by the way. I prefer typing my stories on the computer or rather the computer keyboard, and seeing them on the screen. That way, I can see any mistakes, I am a fiction writer and it does not matter in what method you use. I am no less creative when I use my computer, in fact, when I write by hand, which I always do when signing checks, and filling in documents, I feel less creative. I usually act out my story first in my head and sometimes when no one is around, I actually act out the characters, so in essence I am a visual writer. So there!!!
• United States
27 Mar 07
I try to type as many as things as i possibly can on a computer. It is very hard for me to write something neatly so i use a computer instead. Plus its much easier considering spell check, and formatting options.
1 person likes this
@camery (26)
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
When I was in grade school and high school I usually use paper and pen to write something out of my thoughts. We still didnt have our own computer then so it would be wise to write everything down before typing them. But ever since we got our own PC at home I write everything dirrectly to the computer. This is because its easier to track errors down and it saves time. One reason is its so tiring to write down because you tend to excert much effort. My fingers on the keyboard are basically faster than my hands with a pen.
1 person likes this
@nameerf (99)
• United States
27 Mar 07
I find I'm a lot faster writing with the computer. I also have really crappy handwriting. I do like to take notes with paper though. I find when I'm plotting or trying to figure something out that paper works best. I do make some notes on the computer too but I'm always worried about backing up my files so they don't get lost. At least with paper I have something tangible and as long as I don't throw it away I still have it. It's definitely easier to edit using the computer.
• Canada
27 Mar 07
I usually feel more comfortable writing something on paper first, then computer. This may be because I can't really stare at a computer screen and think. Also I have a limited computer time so I can work on paper more often. And I can also type fast on the computer although I make many small errors, so if I use a computer to write first, I usually write slower than if I used paper.
1 person likes this
@gberlin (3836)
27 Mar 07
The first short story I wrote that was published I wrote with paper an pencil because personal computers were not in use yet. Now I would rather write on the computer. I find that I can write just as fast and it is much easier to change things around. And to correct spelling. If I want to write outside then I use pen and paper. I do like using the computer first though because it saves me time not to have to write it twice, once by hand and then by the computer. However, when it comes to poetry I still write it with pen and paper.
• United States
27 Mar 07
Doing your journal, diary, novel or whatnot on pen and paper can be so cumbersome, and you have to find a place to store your written papers. It can take up a lot of room that way doing pen and paper. That's the bad side of it. It can get your room messier and more cluttered up. On the other hand, the good thing about it is doing pen and paper can authenticate your identity, and it's good for you when you do calligraphy. Now take doing the same pen and paper hobbies and jobs on the computer. There is almost infinite capacity to store your journals, diaries, novels, anything that you can type up on your PC, be it Windows or Mac. The bad side of it is small, but people won't know who wrote what unless you put your name on it. And you may need some anti-glare screens as they will take a toll on your eyes. Also, your text files, unless you have proper, good-enough permanent storage, can be lost in deletion, in a fire, etc. All in all, i'd say that the computer is your best bet. And you might want to scan your papers a lot if you use the computer.
1 person likes this
@Pluntt (232)
• United Arab Emirates
27 Mar 07
well i definatly have to say computer. As for writing by hand there is no way i can because i jsut think so much faster than i can write and i end up be VERY messy which people hate. i had so slow my self down with writing because it was tuyring into one big line in order to keep up with my thoughts, still happens on computers but not as often. cheers Plunt
1 person likes this
@cutepenguin (6458)
• Canada
27 Mar 07
I write things down on paper. Usually with a pencil. It feels mroe real. (Also, it's harder for me to screw up by forgetting to save or by deleting something that I later think is really good.)
1 person likes this
@Munira (484)
• United States
27 Mar 07
Call me old-fashioned. I do all rough drafts with pen and paper. I flow better that way.
1 person likes this
@KATRINKA (1660)
• United States
27 Mar 07
Even though I type 70+ words per minute, I always (except for emails) write everything longhand. When I try to type right on the computer, it interrupts my creative process. Then I'll type and print out the draft, and when I edit, I do it longhand againg. I repeat the process until I feel that my piece is "finished." I do recylce all that paper I use!
@sahar88 (250)
• Egypt
27 Mar 07
i prefer pen and paper...............
1 person likes this
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
i really like writing on a paper and pen....its just comfortable writing on it than on the computer....the monitor just kills my eyes.....not literally..i say, the classic way is the best.....
1 person likes this