How Do You Write? Paper vs. Computer

How Do You Write? Paper vs. Computer

How Do You Write?

Paper vs. Computer

I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing. Certain tools and habits help me get into the writing groove, while others can be distracting. One choice that can affect our writing is whether to use paper or a computer. Like an artist knowing which brush to use to get a desired effect, knowing when to use paper or a computer helps me get inspired and get to work. Here’s a look into how I get down to the business of writing.

Looking for Inspiration? Reach for the Writing Pad

There is something magical about putting pen to paper that helps with generating ideas. Maybe it’s the fact that writing in a notebook feels more personal and private. Perhaps the magic comes from the lack of rigidity in formatting. You can choose to write in the lines, over the lines, around the lines, and doodle all along the edges.

With that in mind, I use a writing pad for when I want to be creative without limitations. For instance, when I start to create a plot I usually start by drawing it out on paper. It’s okay if I start out by using bullet points to list events, move on to a quick character sketch, and end up scratching out half of the ideas. The freedom to be messy makes the process of getting my ideas down much less intimidating than if I were working on a blank document in a word processor. Soon, I have enough of a grasp on the direction I want to take. Next, I get writing.

Ready for the Long Haul? Bring on the Computer

When I sit down at the computer, I know it’s time to focus. My ideas are explored enough that I feel like I have a strong direction to follow. This is important because if I don’t have a purpose, I find myself staring at a blank screen. Gone is the confidence to make mistakes that I had when working with a pen and paper. But, if I’ve prepared well, the ease of typing and the ability to fix mistakes fast helps my mind stay on the unfolding story. And when I get stuck, as many of us do, I can pick up my notebook and get back to the messier side of writing.

I’ve found that by breaking up which tool I use for two distinct parts of writing I have a deeper focus on my task. Having my notebook for brainstorming and quick writes and my computer for story writing has improved how I approach writing.

What works for you?

How do you write? Do you use both paper and a computer? I would love to hear your thoughts, and what you have found that helps you get writing!

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About Katie McCoach

KATIE McCOACH is a developmental book editor at KM Editorial, LLC working with authors to help them create their best story! Be sure to follow her on Twitter @KatieMcCoach.

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3 Responses to How Do You Write? Paper vs. Computer

  1. Mike Garlock May 19, 2017 at 6:08 am #

    I used to love rewriting on a printed page with #2 pencils. There was an intimate, physical relationship that existed between myself and the words I had written. But the retyping was a killer. It took so much time. Now I have speed that makes me more productive. But I still have my #2 pencils. I never use them but I still have them.
    J.M. Garlock

  2. Mike Garlock May 19, 2017 at 6:05 am #

    I used to love rewriting on printed pages with a #2 pencil. There was a physicality about it, a very personal interaction between page & pencil. It was personal. I had an intimate relationship with the words I had written. But the retyping was a killer. It took so much time. Now my rewriting is obviously much faster. But I still have my #2 pencils.

  3. Scott Haskin May 19, 2017 at 12:22 am #

    For me, it depends on the situation. Before my laptop fried, I would take it places and write away. I used to come to Vegas and spend 2 or 3 days in my hotel room and complete a project. Now, I live here but not opposed to it still. Since I have no laptop, I bring a notebook and an outline with me when I have appointments or go to a restaurant. The challenge for me, is that I don’t just type it in the computer – I begin editing and re-writing as I type, which often changes things I’ve put in the story.

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