I was just wondering… which one do you like better: paper or digital? I’ve known people who can only get their creative juices flowing when they use the old-fashioned pen and paper, but I also know people who like the efficiency that comes with keyboards and word processors.
Personally, I can do both. I remember when I started writing my first book, I would sit down with a red notebook and pencil and write by lamplight for hours. I wrote at least half of the book that way. Even now, when I’m not already on my laptop or out of the house, I’ll find myself writing entire chapters on the most random things. Napkins, flyers, receipts. Anything that I can use to get my ideas and words down.
In fact, I recently came across the notebook I was using when I wrote the novella, Looking For Lily. I wrote full chapters in it and it made me remember the weirdest places and times that I wrote it. Like in the middle of classes (that I should have been listening to) and at restaurants on napkins that I taped into the notebook.
Then again, I also can creatively vent my words with a keyboard. Whether that be on the laptop in the dark or on my phone in the car (not driving). I find that sometimes I can’t get my thoughts out in some formats but I can in others. It changes from day to day, I guess. Like sometimes the laptop seems like such a big and scary blank screen and sometimes the paper seems too permanent (erasing vs. backspace key).
But each side has it’s benefits. On paper, you can write anywhere. You can write under your desk at school or work, maybe keep that chapter in your back pocket for when you have a couple of spare minutes to work on it. Laptops take a while to get out and aren’t always with you, even if you are one of the people who like to take theirs with them wherever they go. Plus, that might be more rude to do in the middle of a conversation rather than scribbling an idea down on a napkin.
Digital writing has it’s own pros too. If you write with paper, you’re going to have to type it up at some point. So that’s just adding to the efforts, having to write it twice. If you type it up from the beginning, you can skip that extra step. And if you decide to go back and fix something you erased, we’ve always got the back button. Don’t even get me started on the copy and paste part of things. Digital writing is easier to edit and rearrange.
But paper helps to show what it will look like in print. It gives you a different perspective.
But digital has a tolerance for mistakes. It gives you a wider margin for error.
Even if you write in print, you can transfer into the computer as you write your next draft. And digital provides more distractions.
Even if you type it up the first time around, you can always print it out to edit with a red pen. And print is easier to lose, with only one copy.
With paper it’s easy to rip or tear.
With digital it’s easy to accidently delete… everything. (I speak from experience. I once deleted a novel I was halfway through writing and then I never finished it. It was before I got really serious with writing… Lesson learned: Don’t write a novel in the notes section of the iPad and then wipe it clean it before syncing with iCloud.)
Today’s challenge for you comes in two parts. First, comment or message me about which side you reside to. Do you prefer to write with pencil and paper or would you rather type it up? And what about editing? Maybe you like all of the arrows and sticky notes of editing a written piece, the whole classic red pen process, or maybe your more of a copy and paste and spell check kind of person.
Here’s the second part. Say you like to write on your laptop, then maybe try writing a scene or two on paper. If the idea strikes you in the middle of the grocery store, find a receipt to write on. Or if you are at work or school and happen to have an idea, grab a pen and paper and just jot down as many details that you can think of. Or even just sit down with a notebook and pencil and write like you would any day with your keyboard. Find what you like about the other side, like not having to wait until you get home to write that scene you have an idea for. Or the portability of writing with a single sheet of paper.
If you like to write on paper, try writing on some kind of digital device. See what’s so great about it. Maybe it’s the relief of not having to type it up after you just wrote the whole thing, or maybe the security of being able to make copies and back it up. And it doesn’t half to be a laptop with a big, scary, empty screen. It could be on a smart phone, where a lot of people are used to the keyboard with all of the texting going on these days (pffft… Kids). Maybe it’s easy forgiveness of the backspace key, or the efficient ability to edit, but maybe you will find that you like it.
Try out which ever side you don’t usually stand on. It might give you perspective or some better ideas for what you are working on. Maybe you are having writer’s block or just need a change because of the same day-after-day routine that comes along after working on one novel for a while.
Even try writing in ways that don’t really go along with either side. If you commute a long way to work every day, maybe kill that thirty minutes in the car by speaking into a voice recorder. You can’t write or type behind the wheel, but you can speak. Then again, if you think you might wreck, don’t try it. But you get what I mean. Try something different. You might find that it’s better for your creative-outlet, so to speak, than what you’re used to.
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Thank you for reading, and don’t stop writing!