The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD- Paper or Keyboard? Touchscreen?

My computer is broken.

There’s no need to get into details, but let’s just say that if you want to download an old video game you remember playing on Sega Genesis when you were twelve it’s not worth it to try and get it for free. Just pay for it. It’s like three bucks on Amazon.

Anyway, this is having a profound effect on my writing. I’ve always written on a computer. Now I’m trying to transition to longhand while I figure out my laptop situation, and it is not going well. I’m discovering things about my process that are a little disturbing.

My handwriting is terrible, first of all. Especially if I start writing quickly. The sentences will start out legible, but once I get into the flow the lettersĀ begin to devolve into alien squiggles that wander across the lines and create a spiral notebook of chaos that is impossible to maintain. For me, it takes patience and focus to write by hand. I have very little of those two things. If it took impulsivity and lack of mental discipline, I’d be all over it. But, as it is, all those legal pads I bought will remain a constant reminder of the fact that I am not Stephen King and will never literally pen a first draft. Because it takes forever and it makes my hand hurt.

Also, I edit as I write. Take this paragraph, for example. I probably wrote this paragraph three times before I decided, ‘eh’ and moved on. I don’t think before I write, I think as I write, which is what the delete key was made for. When I write on paper I end up with crossed out lines and whole pages scrapped to start again. I don’t like for there to be too much evidence of the process.

Of course, I suppose the keyboard and the pen aren’t exactly the only options anymore. There is also the pseudo-keyboard of the tablet and the smartphone. I shouldn’t even have to get into why that thing is terrible. I don’t even like it when people correct me. If this iPhone autocorrects one more thing I’m trying to type I’m gonna hold it underwater and see if Siri calls out for he mama.

Too much? I thought that might have been too much.

What about you? Can you write across mediums, or are you stuck on one?

About Doran Simmons

I'm a writer and a camper and a keeper of fish. I was trained as a flight instructor and work day jobs and write nonsense for public consumption (hopefully).

2 comments on “QOTD- Paper or Keyboard? Touchscreen?

  1. kiwiskan
    March 17, 2014

    I can so relate to this. My hand-writing is appalling, and I almost always write directly on to the keyboard – and edit as I go. The only exceptions are short notes and poetry in a little notepad that I carry with me…

  2. maryef
    March 17, 2014

    I guess I am lucky to be able to write on anything. I find that if I use the laptop I edit more as I go whereas, if I am writing longhand, I tend to let the words flow and then edit later. I prefer longhand but if it is for something I know I am going to submit online, I will go ahead and use the computer.I do agree that longhand makes your hand hurt, especially if you are ‘on a roll’. Perhaps you could try dictating your thoughts. That way you could edit as you go and then could write at a slower pace without the worry that a gem could be lost to the squiggles.

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This entry was posted on March 17, 2014 by in Question of the Day and tagged , , , , , , , .

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