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  • Writer's pictureLilah Lyons

The "Write" Material

No matter how much I wish we could go back to the days of writing with a feather and inkwell, it will never happen (unless there is an EMP but even then...)



Not only are computers faster and include auto-correct, but they can save your work digitally so you don't have to worry about anything getting lost or destroyed. But are they really the best way to write? Authors have been using pen and ink for much longer than computers, and us classic lovers know that nothing compares with the works of F. H. Burnett, Allcot, and Twain. 


But is that just a romantic idea? or is it attainable to write an entire book on a piece of parchment? Here I've listed the pros and cons of each main type of writing so you can find which one works best for you.


Pros and Cons of Pen (Or Pencil) and Paper Writing

Pros-

Writing on paper forces you to slow down and think about everything you are writing. You have a chance to gather your thoughts before putting them out into the world - even in a small way. Studies from Science Daily show that writing on paper increases your focus, memory, and brain activity (Science Daily, 2021). Not bad if you're trying to brainstorm ideas! 


Cons- 

However, there are cons to writing on paper, and it's not too hard to see why. One of my fears is that suddenly, my WIP will be completely lost. With a digital copy of your work, it is much easier to retrieve a document if your computer/phone is lost or broken. But if your writing journal is lost, the chances of you getting it back are slim to absolute zero. 

It also can take more time to write this way if you are inexperienced with it. So if you're on a time crunch I wouldn't push it. 


Pros and Cons of Computer/Phone Writing

Pros- 

As I said, writing on a computer or phone allows you some security when it comes to losing your manuscript. Editing is also much easier digitally, allowing you to copy, paste, delete, and reword as much as needed. You never have to worry about running out of paper. Another bonus is being able to write wherever you are, as iPhones fit easily into a pocket. 


Cons-

Writing digitally can lead to distractions, though. It is very easy to get sucked into an advertisement or find yourself scrolling youtube for a playlist when you really should just be focusing on your word count. Also, writing on a screen is less tactile and less intimate. When you write by hand, the entire work has your fingerprints embedded into it. Your handwriting, your stray marks, and even your misspelled words make your writing feel more personable and warm. Working solely on a device can also cause eyestrain, so beware!


Pros and Cons of (I Had To) Typewriter Writing

Pros- Besides being a unique way to write in an over-modernized culture, writing on a typewriter is a wonderful tactile experience. Again, there are no distractions, no eyestrain, and no dependency on technology.


Cons- 

Unfortunately, typewriters can be expensive to buy and maintain. Since they are no longer a common household item, it is probable that if a part breaks repairing it may be troublesome. Ink and paper also cost money, and with no spell check or foolproof way of correcting misspelled words, you may go through a lot of pages before actually typing something error-free. If none of that bothers you, have at it, but this is certainly not the fastest or most cost-effective way to write. 


In Sum 

So is it possible to write an entire book without a screen? Technically, yes. Many great writers, poets, and philosophers have written without screens, and it worked great for them. The world did work quite differently in their time, however, and to receive any sort of publication you must transcribe your work onto a device at some point. Gone are the days were an aspiring young author could pop into the nearest publishing house with a physical manuscript. Editors, agents, publishers, and printers will require a digital file to use your work, and you might not be taken very seriously if you send in a handwritten book. 


But... I still believe hand writing can be a marvelous way to get ideas out of your head. My desk drawers are stuffed with scraps of paper and half-filled notebooks with all my ideas on them. Whether you choose just one way to write or a combination, have fun with the process and enjoy yourself! 



How do you write?

  • ink and quill

  • computer, iphone, or laptop

  • pen or pencil and paper

  • typewriter



Works Cited

Study shows stronger brain activity after writing on paper than on tablet or smartphone. (2021, March 21). ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210319080820.htm


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robin
Apr 30

I have written with all of these at different times, except for ink and quill. That does sound quite lovely though.

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Edmund Goforth
Edmund Goforth
Apr 23

I write using all of them, just depends on the project.

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