Writing with pen and paper vs typing on a computer – which is best? And can a change of scene help you to be more creative?
The rather awesome J K Rowling wrote swathes of the “Harry Potter” series in cafes in Edinburgh.
Can other writers do this?
With iPad at the Wolfgangsee.
Writing with pen and paper vs typing on a keyboard
Writing techniques vary. When I am writing major pieces – such as a novel – I write in longhand, in an A4 pad. While typing straight onto a keyboard is in theory quicker, I find sitting staring at a screen for long periods makes my brain melt. Making quick amendments to what you have already written is also clumsier, and slower, on a computer.
By contrast, on my A4 paper pad I am constantly making amendments, often writing a first draft in one colour and amending in another. I read through and amend what I wrote last time before starting to produce all-new material. By the time I am ready to type the material onto my computer (a joyous process, watching the word-count rise) I have already edited the text a couple of times. The typing process itself is a further edit.
Where to write: at home or somewhere else?
Carrying around a pad, pens, etc is just as feasible as carrying a laptop or iPad, right?
But what about the wealth of reference material available at home – reference books, old diaries, old drafts, and so on? What about that cup of coffee you can fetch?
You can tackle some of these issues by good use of the cloud, or Dropbox. But a writing den or nest certainly has its plus points.
The counter-argument – apart from the J K Rowling factor that you may not have a comfortable writing den or nest – is that a change of scene may liberate your creative juices. Suddenly your environment is different – sights, sounds, smells, people. Distractions which hold you back in place A are absent in place B, where the smell of Apfelstrudel or fresh coffee reminds you of that time when…
My conclusion? I think a change of scene can do any writer good. You need to have at least a minimum of writing equipment. But it may be less than you thought. Get out there, and create something.
If you are interested in writing technique, try my category: “Writing tips – a collection of advice and examples” or my “writing tips” tab.
P.S. I hope you have enjoyed this comparison between writing with pen and paper vs writing directly onto a computer. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, you can friend me on Facebook or sign up for my weekly newsletter (you can unsubscribe anytime you wish).