From our RHP/AOTSP intern, Rachel, on the mechanics of writing – she makes some great points! Tell us, in the comments, what you think about her methods and how you feel about writing versus typing:
There are many different ways to tell stories. People first told stories orally and through art. As we further developed our languages and made industrial advancements, we moved to writing, making movies, and using the different computer, Internet, and other digital technologies.
I personally tend toward the old-fashioned route when it comes to actually telling my own stories. I like writing. And when I mean writing, I mean the physical act of holding a utensil and moving one’s hand to draw letters. Not typing on a computer. There’s something a bit different that allows my thoughts to flow better when I physically write than anything else. I am sad and a little bit upset when I hear about schools thinking about not teaching students how to hand write any more. They can learn their letters by using the keys on the keyboard. They can type. Why do they need to know how to write? Well, besides the fact that they need to be able to sign their names on receipts and documents and such. For me, it can be therapeutic, it can help me remember things, it can help me get my thoughts out onto a physical thing that I can hold in my hands and scribble on, and it doesn’t rely on any electricity. It’s consistent. It’s concrete. It’s stable. I love writing so much that I’ll volunteer to write in group activities and I’ll write out my lists and outlines by hand before doing anything else with them. I highly doubt I’ll ever use a laptop over paper to take notes. Are future generations going to miss out? I can’t imagine my life not knowing how to write things by hand. What if the power goes out? What if the technology runs into glitches or stops working properly? Will the future generations be at a loss?
Is technology going to ruin our lives?
But then again, how did we come to be able to mass-produce books, magazines, and other types of literature? How do we continually find ways to reach more people (it’s not called social media for nothing, you know)? Technological advances! I could go back and forth for hours on why technology is helping or hurting our literary culture, or even society as a whole. The bottom line is that we need to find a balance – using technology to our advantage, but also checking to make sure we are protected from its disadvantages.
What are your thoughts?
My daugher’s school teach cursive writing. She’s doing quite well, but has now fallen into the habit of correcting me when I write down my scribble!
Interesting . . . I have a writer friend in England who feels the same way as you. He writes *everything* down by hand first, and I mean *everything*; he even writes out his emails before he types them. I actually feel the opposite (and it seems to be the same way for both my kids). While I outline and take notes by hand, to actually write my novel I needed to type; in fact I think having a computer which made typing a whole lot easier than on a typewriter is one of the main reasons I finished P.A.W.S. , while all of my previous attempts at novels sit in notebooks in a box in the basement – too easy to give up when you happen to be out of paper and too much of a chore to type up – maybe some day . . .
This is a great article, Rachel! The world’s greatest invention is the simple pencil.
What this subject really addresses is being connected to the stream of writing. Flowing thoughts directly onto paper. I enjoy writing by hand, the writing tool itself is very important. I find few are comfortable enough to avoid hand cramps when used for hours, so the keyboard /word processor for me is a blessing, especially the backspacing/editing ability. Writing is a fine art; writing directly on paper is a wonderful experience that every child should have. The obvious problem with technology is that it can fail. A pencil always works.
I enjoy the old-fashioned writing of letters and correspondence notes, but much prefer typing for the writing of books. My hand would cramp too much to be productive.