Zabowska's Blog

November 11, 2009

Writing by Hand is better than tapping on a keyboard?

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 9:27 pm

Some people say that writing by hand is better than writing on a computer keyboard
when it comes to writing your novels and books. I find that to be the case for myself. There
is something more genuine and natural about writing in long hand on paper.

I know this view is very unpopular, given the advent of computers and how it has
revolutionized our writing, especially drafting and redrafting of our manuscripts.
However, there is something when we write on a keyboard that is very much there when
we write in longhand. In this reflection, I want to examine some of the differences in
writing on a keyboard as opposed to writing in longhand.

First, when one writes in long hand, there is no delete button. Therefore, the experience
of writing is much more like life right away. You can’t delete what you feel unsure about.
You can only cross it out.

Second, the physical activity of writing by hand involves many parts of the brain which
are used in story making such as time, place, action, characters, relationships, and moving
forward across an entire connected genre. And that’s just what goes on when we write a
single letter by hand.

Third, when you write by hand, what you write is usually conscious and not unconscious
as it is on a computer keyboard some times. When we write by hand, we are engaged in
the physical activity which allows it to be active. When we write by hand, we are deeply
involved in what we are writing. Writing on paper gives an inside view, the vista of what
we are writing.

Lastly, writing by hand is like taking a first hand trip and seeing the landscape over
which you are writing. It is slower than writing on a computer keyboard. But the slower
pace helps you to enjoy the process and the vista. Writers who write in longhand get to
experience a lot more of the story than writers who tap on the keyboard. The latter group
of writers may produce more words but the words won’t be as authentic as writers who
write by hand.

So, why not try writing some of your books and novels in longhand. The process will be
memorable and you will be glad that you took the journey. I still write a lot of the first
drafts of my books and novels in longhand. It takes longer but I really enjoy the process of
writing with pen or pencil on paper. It is such an organic process that I wouldn’t trade it
for a keyboard.


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