Editorial Assistance

Reasons why I still write in notebooks

Yesterday, me and my boyfriend were talking about the pros and cons of longhand writing and typing. Here's the text message I sent:

I do understand why so many dont [longhand write]. Its messy, and in a world of technology where you'll have to type it anyway, it seems silly. (2/3) But i love writing with paper. i love the scratch outs, the margin notes, the arrows, the stains. I love having to take hours typing 15 pages. Why? It (3/3) forces me to read it again and i always catch errors that way. Why isnt this a blog post at rambles? Tomorrow it will be.
Today is the tomorrow in that text. On Facebook, I put up a status asking if anyone prefers to write on paper instead of type, and all of the 8-10 writers who answered said that they preferred typing. There I was, the youngest writer in the discussion, and I preferred hoarding loads of notebooks and pens to write my story over using cleverly awesome apps and technology. With Dream Catcher, I tried to do the whole typing first thing, but it didn't work. I couldn't do it. And in this post I'll try and explain my attachment to longhand.

First off, though, I am NOT writing this post to argue that my way of writing is superior to the other. That's silly. People should write how they see fit.

  • Recognition with family and friends: Each of my notebooks has the title of my book on it in big letters. When people I know see me taking my pen out and opening that notebook, it's like they instantly know I'm writing and need to be left alone. But when I bring out my laptop, even if I say I'm working on my novel, they seem a little suspect that I actually am doing such a thing.
  • Less Distractions: Writers are notoriously good at finding distractions regardless, but I don't get distracted as easily when I'm just listening to music and huddled in a corner somewhere staring at my notebook. With the computer, even when I try to restrict myself, the internet calls to me.
  • Can easily refer back: When I get furious with a sentence or even a whole page of writing, I put a small line through the sentence or a big X over the whole page, but I often find that the very same things I once decided was bad could very easily be used later on. However, when typing, I press delete and lose all of that.
  • Fun with margins, stains, arrows, etc.: My story notebooks are highly amusing. There are all type of crazy things in the margins that, when I look back on them now, I have no idea why the hell I wrote them. So many notes to myself, so many suggestions, so many random sentences. Since I take the notebook with me everywhere, there are mystery stains I try to decipher later. And then the arrows! My paragraphs are often written terribly out of order, so I have to use arrows and numbers to make it flow. It's like a puzzle!
  • I'll have to type it: Yes, this is often frustrating. If I've written over 5 pages, and I very often do, it will take me hours to type it all up. But in those hours, I'm forced to reread everything I've written, and all types of errors jump out at me that way.
So, do you prefer to write or to type? It'd be wonderful if someone did a post in response to this, but explaining why they prefer typing.

1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I can't reply with a whole entry as to why I "prefer" to type, but only because it's not that clear-cut for me. I grew up on longhand in an age where my house had one computer and had to be divided among the time of four, sometimes five, children, and that's when my mother wasn't on it for work or other official business. So it was practical and for the longest time, even after I was the only kid who still used the children's computer, even after I got my own laptop, I still kept notebooks and pens on me at all times. 

    Since then things've changed. For some reason after I finished my basic combat training with the Army I spent more time writin on my laptop. I've stuck with it. What I can do after all is provide you with reasons why I've stuck with it. 

    I get a better gauge of how my hard work registers in the hard copy. Too often I slave over a chapter or a passage and it's 10 pages long. When I type it up the shit's barely a page in Times New Roman and I'm left with a general feeling of dissatisfaction and as if I've been cheated of my hours of labor because it doesn't show in the hard line. 

    Ease of research/references. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I can access it with one key on my laptop. When I'm buried in my notebook, getting references or looking up concepts or even brushin up my language becomes a task. Whether I use the Internet or hit the books, there's this whole institution of walkin around to get other shit that can easily distract me in the interim. Like food or TV or my mother. 

    Timelessness. I never, ever delete files, not ever since I began transferrin my work to the computer. And I don't mess with em. So I can look back on the shit I wrote as a high school freshman or a middle schooler and oogle at how naiive and narrow my work was. Or get a brilliant new idea from readin an old short story. 

    And last but not least I keep a file all on its own for ideas that may or may not come to fruition in one fashion or another someday. Fragmental ideas that pop into my head outta nowhere and full-blown ideas to evolve into novels in their own respects. 

    Plus it's overall more organized. I have the Soul series book here, books that don't belong to the series here, others within, others without, research here, etc., etc. All those nifty notes in the margins, I keep bulleted now. :]