3rd November 2011 — About Writing

Writing longhand versus typing onscreen

I’ve just read an article about the joys of writing longhand and claiming creative writing is better with a pen. I disagree. For me, writing onscreen is an equally “deep-felt, uninterrupted connection between thought and language” because I am a touch typist. I don’t look at the keys when I type. I look at the screen. Typing is an essential part of my craft. I type faster than I write by hand – about 58-60 words a minute when copying text or typing dictation. The downside is that after some thirty years typing like this, my handwriting has deteriorated. I used to have clear, flowing handwriting. But my years as a reporter (I was never good at conventional shorthand and developed my own method of fast notetaking) turned my handwriting into a scrawl. When I write a letter or postcard, I have to consciously slow down in order to write legibly, if not as elegantly as I once learned to do. I write my novels straight on to the screen. I work on each sentence until I’m happy with it. I keep a second document, which I name “Parked”, into which I save sentences, thoughts, paragraphs, things I’ve changed. But I write by hand in the notebook I carry with me. That’s where I record things I notice, random thoughts, sudden inspirations when I’m out and about, away from my desk. I agree about one thing in the article, “there are too many distractions when writing directly on to the screen. The Internet being the main culprit.” I was browsing the Internet when I read the article about writing by hand. Writing this response to it is another distraction. Back to work!