Technology – Help or Hindrance in Writing?

A couple of days ago Scott Berkun asked the question, “Does technology help you write?”  The respondents via the comments section showed twice as many like technology and actually feel it helps.

A couple felt it neither helps nor hinders and a few more out rightly prefer pen and
paper.  This question is interesting because it is something I am currently wrestling with.

Advantages of Technology:

1)       For speed in getting what you want to say down on paper, when you cannot write quickly enough to get the words in your brain down on paper, a key board can’t be beat.
Most people cannot write legibly at any great speed for a sustained period of time.

2)      Easy editing.  Correction, addition, deletion – all very easy.

3)      Greater physical comfort in striking keyboards rather than gripping a pen or pencil.

4)      It’s great for those who have lousy penmanship.

Disadvantages of Technology:

1)       It can be distracting.  I get all hung up on form and spelling and language and lose the essence of what it is I am writing.

2)      The urge to hit the internet and get waylaid is tempting for some authors whether it be games, Facebook or other.

3)      Writing, actual writing with pen and paper seems cozier, more personal somehow.

What works?

I have been reading about authors to see what works for them.  Some like Stephen King; I believe can just type it out.  Others like Jeffrey Archer won’t touch a keyboard.  Mr. Archer has a writing schedule where he works for two hour periods throughout the day and
this makes sense as handwriting is tiresome. Peter Straub has indicated through his stories that he will hand write through the day and then type it up.  Now it was some years ago I picked up on that bit of information and for all I know he may be completely techie now.  I think that Stephenie Meyer is more a keyboard kind of gal and J.K. Rowling does both.

I prefer the feel of pen in hand but it is just too uncomfortable and my penmanship has
gone to the dogs or where ever that skill goes in time.  I don’t always feel comfortable having to sit for hours at a desk or with a laptop.  So I continue to seek that perfect blend of both.

What does work for you?  How are you able to be most productive when writing?

9 thoughts on “Technology – Help or Hindrance in Writing?”

  1. It has its advantages and limits… I wrote a post on it. I still love the great things about technology and, thankfully, I see prices coming down every day on new gadgets. 🙂

  2. Thanks for giving an overview of what some writers prefer. Very interesting insights.

    I have notebooks for different purposes. Usually I scribble furiously into those. I adore sending a handwritten note to friends or family – feels so personal and sincere to write to them.

    But when writing prose, I love being able to speed over the keys emptying the stash that somehow crept in when I wasn’t thinking! 😀

  3. I always have as notebook with me so that can write down random thoughts but nothing beats the speed of the keyboard. Sometimes, when I am typing and particularly in wordpress, the keyboard cannot keep up with my speed and so I get very strards – that was supposed to be ‘strange words’ – on the page.
    But I do love the feel of a pen or pencil in my hand and a new notebook. I wrote a bit about this in a blog in June –

  4. I love the physical act of writing with pen/paper. Always have. But I do most of my writing any more at the keyboard. But you can not beat the powerful feeling of transferring thoughts and emotions from your brain out through your fingers with a pen. My words in my handwriting (horrible as it is).

  5. My signature is worse than what you would see a Doctor sign on a prescription pad…..and my handwriting is even worse…… I can’t imagine writing out these blog posts…. Even I would not be able to read them when they were done. I do good just to scribble out checks. 🙂 As far as being productive, you will never find me writing without music playing in the background. 🙂

  6. Hi Chris, interesting question isn’t it. i have a big book that i scribble notes into, using a new sheet every day and then just type on the keyboard. I write for at least two hours a day on the WIP and two on my blog stories and catching up. there is quite a bit of farming and houseworking in between. Then at night I take my cards to bed, and write on them through the night as ideas come..

I love to hear your thoughts on this!

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