The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Writer's Corner: Computer, Typewriter, or Pen and Paper: What Is Your Choice? The Five Minute Response

I was asked not long ago whether, if given the opportunity, I'd cast aside the computer in favor of either a typewriter or pen and paper. This won't take long to answer. Less than five minutes, the clock is ticking.

While I've always wanted to own what I considered the luxury typewriter while growing up, the IBM Selectric (oooo), the answer is a resounding NO.

I used a manual portable Olivetti typewriter all through my first stint in college, typing papers laboriously, needing to use correction fluid for typos ... or, horrors of horrors, retype the page with the mistake ... an agony if you were near the end of the page. I spent a great many hours I could have spent more productively ... sleeping perhaps ... at that machine.

All of my notes were taken for those first Bachelors and Masters degrees by hand, pen and paper. I had a formidable callous on my middle finger, right hand, from that. I won't go back to either of those writing tools. I see very little advantage in the extra time they add (time for reflection some will say).

For me, the computer will be my writing device of choice until something truly better comes along. I have trained my brain to use the computer's ways to my best advantage. I've organized an entire system of note taking, organization, outlining, and writing that revolves around the way the computer works. The machine saves me a great many hours of labor. Better yet, it saves innumerable trees as I create each draft and edit each on the device without ever printing a single page of the early manuscripts. Best, all those drafts are stored in the computer's now awesomely large memory so if I edit away something I intended to keep, I'll find it in the last draft.

Best of all, the computer allows me to quickly experiment with a great many turns of phrase before I decide on a final phrasing of any line. It can be done quickly, sequentially, evolving from a kernel of thought into a developed form in a matter of minutes. The previous forms then disappear when selected and the delete key engaged. All too convenient. No, it'll always be the computer for me.

In the end though, as I wrote and thought it through, the lesson learned here is that whatever tool you prefer to write with, stick with it, explore all the possibilities, and allow that tool to become the freeing instrument of your mind ... allowing you to develop your written work in the best possible way for you.

Happy writing.

And that's the five minute response. 

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