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In today's digitized world, does it pay to go analog? I mean who would waste time in writing using Pen and Paper when you can easily type the stuff using a variety of fonts in Word processing software? But do you honestly think it would make you a better writer?

If given a choice, which one would you opt for? Maybe 99% will opt for Software. But is there anyone out here who still believes that writing with Pen and paper, the good old fashioned way makes more sense?

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    This question is clearly opinion-based, and I don't believe it could be rewritten to eliminate that quality and still be even remotely the same question. I'd vote to close if I could.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Sep 13, 2017 at 16:43
  • If you think about it, the most renown writers have used quills.
    – Alexander
    Sep 13, 2017 at 18:24
  • (typing is faster and doesn't cramp your hand) Sep 13, 2017 at 21:12
  • I use both. Most of my planning, outlines, development etc is done with pen and paper. The bulk of my writing is done on laptop, however I still occasionally use pen and paper for certain scenes or something I'm struggling with
    – user18397
    Sep 14, 2017 at 1:31
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    I don't understand why this was put on hold. There is some research into the effect that writing by hand can have on creativity and learning. In sum, there is a clear advantage to generate ideas, organize complex information, and memorize information using non-computer (usually pen and paper) tools. There is of course some individual variation and these are average findings, and you might have to experiment to find out what works best for you. I have found the ideal (i.e. most creativ, efficient, and productive) process to do everything on paper except the actual writing.
    – user26338
    Sep 14, 2017 at 6:31

4 Answers 4

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Whether you write with a pen or paper, or using a PC, it doesn't just make you a better writer. A PC would make it easier/faster to write out your thoughts, but in the end your writing skills are what is between the ears, not the method for which you write them down.

Some people might prefer pen and paper to feel like they are in the old days. Maybe, it might even help them get into the mood if they are writing a book set 100-200 years ago.

Some people prefer to write down their thoughts on note paper first. You can carry a notebook around with you and jot ideas as you think of them, but you can't exactly stop in the middle of the street and take out a laptop.

In the end, everyone has their own unique way to prepare notes, but they all end up finalized on a PC. However, neither make you a better writer. Just a matter of what you prefer to stay organized/get in the mood.

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Since I type at about ten times the rate I write by hand; and my hand gets sore writing by hand for more than a page or so; I opt for typing.

Writing by hand is a sensory ritual for some writers. It makes them feel good and puts them in the mental zone of writing. In the end I think this is entirely a matter of opinion.

Eventually you are not likely to get published without a typewritten manuscript and a digital file. In the process of writing, searches and backups of alternative versions are crucial to me. I am not afraid to write and discard things, so I often go through a dozen drafts of some scenes or chapters, and cut and rewrite liberally: I can do that because I have a backup of every single day I have worked on a project (sometimes more), and can easily search them and cut and paste from them if I want something, or want to revert to a previous version.

The flexibility of using software and having digital copies of everything I ever wrote on a project is so useful to me, I would be disabled by trying to write with a pen and paper. In the end I feel nobody knows or would care what process I used, they are only interested in the final version, which will be typed black-ink words on a white background in a generic font like Times Roman or Schoolbook or Sans Serif.

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  • I fail to see what the down vote is about...
    – Amadeus
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:34
  • we both got downvoted probably because someone didn't like the fact we answered a question they feel shouldn't have been answered. It's fairly petty really... and they could have at least commented.
    – ggiaquin16
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:38
  • @ggiaquin As long as it's open, it's open! Oh well, I have a personal policy of not caring about down votes.
    – Amadeus
    Sep 13, 2017 at 19:49
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Even though I can touch type quickly, I have gone back to writing drafts by hand. It is not speed of writing that determines the speed I produce something: it is speed of thought. If I am thinking quickly I can write something like shorthand to get my ideas down.

I write by hand because it makes me do at least one more thorough editing. (I have also tried printing out a text and then deleting the original so that I must edit what I have written.) It also places me in the position of the people I teach writing to and so I can understand the physical process they go through e.g. getting a sore hand, smudging edits, etc. Finally, I still have to produce a large amount of handwritten texts and writing drafts using a pen keeps me in 'shape'.

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  • "in shape" for an author is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Sep 13, 2017 at 21:29
  • @AspenRand why? Writing has it's own endurance. Concentration, focus all wear out after a while. Being in shape isn't strictly referenced to the physical body. Also typing all day and writing all day does get tiring on the hand. When I was in high school, I could hand write notes all day, now I am lucky I can write out a few lines without my hand hurting.
    – ggiaquin16
    Sep 13, 2017 at 22:46
  • I find it humorous. Sep 13, 2017 at 22:49
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Other than for writing short notes (Shopping list?) the pen and paper is probably obsolete as far as writing is concerned.

  • I know of no publisher who accepts handwritten manuscripts.
  • Editing a handwritten manuscript would end up very messy and involve numerous tedious re-writes.
  • I know lots of people who can't read their own handwriting let alone the handwriting of others.

Want to carry something with you to make notes as they come to you? Use a cell phone and dictate the note or get one with a stylus. I use a Galaxy Note 4 and it quickly converts my scrawl to typed text.

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