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I know today’s technology has made everything easier and faster. We can use the GPS rather than analyze a map in order to get to our destination. We have the Internet to do our research rather than trek over to the local library. And if you’re an author, using a PC or laptop is certainly more simpler than the old pen and paper.

When you are seated in front of the computer screen, you are able to pound your story idea into the keyboard at a more rapid pace than manually writing your tale to sheets of notebook paper. If you use Word, you will probably notice the red or green lines pointing out your grammatical errors. You also won’t have to worry about trying to figure out what sort of notes you made over the crossed out words on the paper. It sounds so easy and simple, it is beyond perfect.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

So what point am I trying to make here?

Well, sometimes I wonder if my writing process would be a whole lot better if I did it the old fashioned way: the pen and paper. I actually miss buying stacks of college-ruled notebook paper from Staples and using my favorite-pen-of-the-moment to write out either my ideas or WIP. Whether I was on my couch, sitting in bed before going to sleep, or even stopping by my writing haunts, like Starbucks or Panera Bread, I thoroughly enjoyed using the pen to write. It was like the ideas in my mind flowed down my arm, through my hand right into the pen and out onto the paper. It was magical to go through this process, and definitely a lot more intimate than using my laptop.

When I say intimate, I really do mean that. Nothing separated me from what I wrote on the paper. The ink of the sheets seemed to be alive, breathing and all. It is kind of how some people feel intimate with books, because you can actually touch the words on the pages. You can’t do that with an eBook, and the feeling is the same way when you type up your work on Word or Scrivener on your computer.

So Megan, you ask, why don’t you use a pen and paper rather than your laptop to write your books?

Good question, and I find myself asking that sometimes. One thing I do know is that with pen and paper, I overanalyze what I write and sometimes get far too deep in the descriptions and dialogue. Typing prevents that. I guess its the screen that separates the writer from its work, and allows the person to get to the point in whatever scene they are creating. That’s the impression I get. It’s like you can drown with the intimacy pen and paper brings.

Another reason why the computer is better is that it is certainly faster to write with. If I were to manually write out a great scene I thought up, my hand would cramp from the speed and need to get it out of me as soon as I can. Plus, there would be no way for me to get those ideas onto paper quick enough – thus, the computer wins in this case.

But isn’t great to have those ink marks on the side of your hand? It’s like a tribal tattoo; writers have them and we can spot each other by those markings.

Since I have become more serious about writing and becoming a published author, I’ve set aside the pen and paper for a more simpler time, whenever that will be. Until then, I cannot waste much time drowning in words; I have to get moving and only the keyboard to the computer can help me do that.

Another thing I’ve learned since becoming serious about my writing, is that while it is fun and play, it is also work. Work means having to make some adjustments so you wouldn’t be sluggish in your production. Work means being disciplined and I wouldn’t be disciplined if I got lost with the words on the paper. Meaning, I would be too busy having fun and playing, I would lose sight of my goal to be a published author. So, I’ve set aside the old ways for now, and have taken up my laptop. But I will always go back to my trusty pen and notebook paper to write out my ideas – that will never leave me, because I’ll yearn for that intimacy I mentioned before between the writer, the trusty pen and the specific notebook paper.

So, how about you? Which way is better? The pen or the computer?

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