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=MECH= Physical Versus Digital Writing

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1/6/2010 23:49:57   

I wanted to post this topic almost as soon as I ventured on this forum and found it wasn't here.

I have always found it interesting how artist talk about how computers and other technology have changed the visual arts (Tablet versus mouse, and which of the drawing programs is best, et cetera), but very little discussion is ever payed toward technology's effect on the written arts. It may be hard to believe, but there was a time before Word and OpenOffice! Before Notepad, even before the keyboard! Software and hardware have both made great changes to the physical writing process, and I wanted to start a discussion about how, and if it's for the better or worse.

Personally, I find that there is a very different feel when I try to write with a pencil, as opposed to a keyboard. There's something comforting, to me, about stopping to sharpen every now and then. Being able to curl up anywhere with a notebook on my knee and a simple sharpener can afford much more freedom than even a laptop, allowing you to go out to nature without having to worry about loosing power. Even the pencil itself I find slightly symbolic; the cone shape symbolizing the mess of thoughts in your mind being concentrated and focused, until they come out sharp and defined. Editing becomes a semi-visual process; I know I usually made half my symbols up on the fly, as they fit the situation.

Conversely, keyboards simplify many, many things. Legibility is taken out of the equation, freeing you to focus more on what you're writing rather than how you're writing it. And editing in both the moment and in retrospect becomes much simpler; instead of an entire re-write changes can be made quickly, simply, and without hassle. Formatting, I find, almost becomes fun, toggling settings and changing fonts. Even emphasis is made easy; I know I never could make convincing italics by hand.

I want to hear your thoughts on this, which you prefer, and how you think the medium changes the writing.



We have enough people who tell it like it is;
we need more people who tell it like it should be.
--My motto for life.
MQ  Post #: 1
1/7/2010 0:32:11   

Physical writing is coming up with ideas, and when I haven't access to a computer, *very* rough drafts. For my actual writing, I prefer the laptop. I'm faster and come up with better words on the computer. I have my notes and my research at my fingertips, both internet and notebooks. I find that songwriting is easier on a piece of paper, however, because I can figure out what note goes where on the staff faster and put it there without going through a complicated process of copy-paste.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 2
1/7/2010 16:33:49   

Well, I certainly draw better with paper and pencil. Tablets are just not for me. 7.7

But that's irrelevant. Writing with a keyboard is much faster than if I were to write with a pencil, and even then, I like my mechanical pencils over the normal ones that require sharpening. It's just simpler. Plus, as alexmacf says, I come up with better words on the computer. I don't remember the last time I've used certain phrases or bigbig words on paper, probably because I focus more on the actual process of writing than /what/ I'm writing. I've also got loads of files on my computer that help me organize my thoughts (but Kabikaboo'll certainly limit that to one 7.7), whereas, if I wanted to make a really long story, I'd usually have loads of papers or notebooks to flip through. And, I very often lose my train of thought while literally writing (surroundings, the thought process put into writing words itself, etc.). >.>

But I guess I'm a little biased, seeing as how I've grown up with computers. I naturally have my ideas flow from my fingers to the little message box on the screen. Writing just... hurts my hands after a while, and that's very distracting. <.<

/When/ (not if) people invent those things where computers can read your mind (they're already at the stage in which a person can produce letters upon concentrating RLY hard), I'm sure that there'll definitely be a large influx of literature. :D
Post #: 3
1/7/2010 16:56:05   

I actually enjoy writing with a pen, myself. I try to keep regular journals for at least one month out of the year, and there's something very meditative and freeing about being able to write on paper. For one thing you're not limited to the document spacing/font/margins/etc.! As an artist I'll find myself suddenly doodling on the side of the paper as I come up with ideas. Or if I'm not happy with a sentence I like crossing it out and writing above it, to the side, drawing arrows, using different colored pens. My poetry is also much better when it's handwritten. I can easily play with the form and shape of the words without having to deal with tabs, font size, etc. in Word.

That being said, I also like typing on the computer since it looks more professional. Handwriting helps me brainstorm and imagine, while typing helps me put it together in a final form.
AQ DF  Post #: 4
1/10/2010 18:57:38   
Reaper Sigma

I've tried writing with a pencil and paper. I end up with a messed up paper from too much erasing and a pencil with no point. I prefer my laptop, I'm very fickle with my writing and will sometimes redo entire chapters. I'm also much faster on my laptop.
Post #: 5
1/10/2010 19:35:42   

Mail Moogle of AdventureQuest

I type a lot faster then I write. Besides, my penmenship stinks, it's chicken scratch o.o
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 6
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