Friday, November 14, 2008

Handwriting vs. Typing

Once upon a time I used to hand write my stories. That was most convenient when I was writing my stories in notebooks during class - when I suppose I should have been taking notes or something.

But once computers came on the scene I did much more of my writing on the computer. For awhile I'd write things out and then type them up. But that seemed redundant and I started typing everything.

I used to use WordStar as my word processing program. Anyone remember that. Ahh... nostalgia.

The upshot is that I've become a very efficient typer - but my handwriting has suffered dreadfully.

If I'm writing a lot by hand I use my own little short hand. Things like a straight line going down below the line I'm writing on means the word "if". Many letters go missing when I write by hand - perhaps it's the same kind of shorthand people use when texting (don't know, don't text). This of course means I can write faster. Unfortunately it also means if I don't transcribe it quickly (like within the hour) I often have no idea what it is I wrote down.

And that right there is the reason I use the computer instead of hand write my stories.

What do you do?


  1. No way on hand writing something. My handwriting to be neat is painful. Truly one of my goals is to neaten my handwriting. I print (never cursive) and so it's slower.
    Type. Type. Type. Cause my thoughts are faster than my hand.

  2. Me too, PJ - I can't write (legibly) nearly as fast as I can type.

  3. Christine, that pretty much sounds like my handwriting. I just love writing by hand, though. I get this weird feeling of being more connected to the story as I scribble it out on the page. But yes, I do have to get that stuff transcribed to the computer really fast, or it's hopelessly gone forever.

  4. Lynn, thanks for stopping by. There is something magical about writing by hand - when I can read it afterwards!

  5. I have to type. I type so much faster than I hand write that there is simply no way that I could get my story on the paper in time if I didn't type.

    However. If I have a big scene--either a really dramatic thing, or an idea/solution that I've been mulling over, I will hand write that. Usually because I know that scene so well I don't have to worry that the words will disappear if I don't type fast enough. But more because I like lying down on my bed when I write those--its more comfortable and really helps me to focus on the words.

  6. Beth - I remember one time when I was about 13 - writing something by hand in bed. It was this marvelous idea I had - just totally brilliant. And I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and I wrote it all down.

    In the dark.

    Next morning - couldn't read a word of it. My lines were on top of each other. The words ran together.

    And -- I didn't remember what the marvelous idea had been. I guess once I wrote it down my brain kind of released it.

    So - moral of that story - when you write in bed - turn on the light. :)

  7. Love that last story, Chris.

    You know my position on this - just about everything I write gets handwritten first. It might get written out two or three times before it makes it to the computer. (And then if I'm stuck, it might get transferred back to my notebook while I figure out what comes next.)


    - I think better on paper. I've even been known to draft work e-mails in a notebook first.

    - No matter how nicely I treat my laptop, I can't actually curl up with it in the corner of a couch, which is how I do most of my writing. Paper is more malleable (figuratively, of course).

    - Even with, doodling is harder on the computer.

    - It's nice to look at. Really, it is. I usually write the very first draft in cursive (yeah, I know, I'm old-school) and I like to make it pretty.

  8. Sarah - I totally agree that doodling works much better on paper.

    And I sometimes do my brainstorming on paper too.

    But when I do - it's certainly not nice to look at.