Is it better to write or type?

It sounds like a simple question, but for some writers, it’s a tough one.

I have a sentimental attachment to paper (although not quite environmentally friendly). There’s something intimate about putting ink on a page–something that no electronic device has or will ever have. Typing is much faster, but I find my creativity is boosted by physically holding a pencil and forming each of letter by hand.

Feelings and emotions that are killed by the dull, irritating light of a computer screen spring back to life when I’m scribbling in the evening by the warm light of a lamp.

Which is better? I don’t know. What do you think?

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41 Comments Add yours

  1. I used to handwrite everything, but then I found I just couldn’t write fast enough so took to typing. I do love handwriting though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      Exactly the issue I have, Mishka! I love actually writing on paper but speed is everything when you’re business writer.

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on A Writer's Life For Me. and commented:
    Good points here and a great post! I had just been thinking lately about how I miss handwriting out all my stuff.

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  3. I wrote my first thousand page novel using a quill pen. It got to the point that I loved it so much I would bring my ink and pen to work and write at lunch. Somehow seeing my handwriting transformed into something more like what the characters in my novel would have been used to helped me get in the right state of mind instantly.

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  4. I used to have a sentimental attachment to paper, but I realized that writing on paper and then transferring the text digitally took way too much time. So, for the last 15 years, I type!

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    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      Indeed Nicholas, the time commitment of handwriting is a huge deciding factor!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Crystal Barnes says:

    Great question! I actually like the idea of writing and for my lyrical poetry, I usually handwrite them. Regarding my stories, I will write out the ideas for a story or “blueprint”, but now I type the entire story, mainly because its faster and my hands hurt easily if I write for too long 🙂

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  6. rlsharpe says:

    It is a tough question! I write mainly on my laptop because it is quicker than having to write a novel by hand and type the whole thing up. But I also like writing by hand. When I get a new idea I like to write it in a note book. If I write at night (I usually write during the day) I like to write by hand because I’m tired and typing makes me more tired – and I get distracted by the internet. And sometimes, when I don’t feel that much like writing, like this week, I’ll grab some paper and pen and just start and end up writing pages and pages. Typing is great, but sometimes pen and paper is just what you need. .

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      The Internet distraction is a big one, for sure. I like that you brought that point up. And computers screens are pretty draining…. paper and pens never wore anyone out. Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I really like taking a pen and paper and writing my thoughts and ideas. down. Yes, it is longer than typing, but seeing what I am developing on paper seems to add to my creative juices. This is not to say that using the computer is mundane at all. Rather, just a preferred preference.

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    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      “Preferred preference” I LOVE that. And you are right, it adds to the whole experience and makes it more involved.

      Like

  8. Daisy Banks says:

    For time and comfort the keyboard works best for me. I still get the same problem of missed out words or bits when I am working fast but its easy to back to fix them with the computer. I take a note pad to jot ideas when I am out but most work is done via the keyboard. Nice question.

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    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      A good mix is always good! Great points Daisy.

      Like

  9. eclecticalli says:

    I find that I have to switch it up. Some stories and characters seem to flow better when I am typing, others when I am handwriting, and still others on a typewriter. And sometimes I have to work on one story across a variety of mediums… because that’s just the way that works best. I try to not confine myself into one or another form (if at all possible)…

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    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      Hmm I never thought of the effect either one would have on characters. Very interested point of view, thanks for sharing. You have a typewriter?

      Like

      1. eclecticalli says:

        I’ve had a few through the years — currently I don’t have one (which has made me very sad,since there’s a few projects I’m working on that I think would be helped by some typewriter writing)…but I’ll be getting one that’s pretty close to the typewriter of my dreams in about two weeks!

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      2. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

        Awesome! I didn’t know that they still make typewriters

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      3. eclecticalli says:

        The one I’m getting belonged to my great-grandfather 🙂 I’m sure they still make them (they certainly still make the ribbon for them), but I prefer the older ones 🙂

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  10. carenksr says:

    Paper always wins over the computer. Although, I do miss the nice click clack sound my old typewriter made. Of course, that was ages ago, before the wheel.

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  11. shegyes says:

    I tend to actually write more when I hand-write. It really makes no sense. However, my feelings always turn back to, “Man, I still need to type all this!” Still, I believe I think better and get my thoughts across better when I hand-write, so I’m debating going back to hand-writing first drafts, which I did before I had a computer, edit by hand, and then type final edits.

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      That’s pretty interesting. Why do you think that happens? (I experience similar)

      Like

      1. shegyes says:

        Truthfully, I think it’s because with paper, we allow ourselves to screw up more. (We can always type it different later.) I realize we can do the same as we type, but maybe it just feels freer.

        Plus, a notebook can be carried anywhere and opened to a blank page with ease when inspiration hits.

        Computers can be bulky, depending on the kind you have, take a few minutes to start up, and by the time you open a document, the idea’s fizzled and gone.

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      2. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

        You put that so well. I completely identify with ideas fizzling while I wait for computers to boot up

        Like

  12. cathyjing99 says:

    For me, I like to type when I am extremely motivated and inspired to write. It’s because I type faster when I write!

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    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      Same here Cathy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. victoriacjblog says:

        I personally like writing out my thoughts because I can see whenever I want to. But, in the end, everything has to be typed out. So having a greater appreciation for my laptop is in process. But I will still put a pen and paper, and agape recorder by my bed when I sleep. It is easier than attempting to turn on my laptop.

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  13. S.R. McKade says:

    I’ve often wondered that myself. Writing on paper definitely boosts creativity. But typing also helps especially when you’re writing a scene where you’re practically bursting with inspiration, lol. So I try both depending on which one works best 🙂

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      Sounds like the perfect solution: do both! Haha. Thanks for sharing S.R.

      Like

      1. S.R. McKade says:

        You’re welcome 🙂

        Like

  14. I love paper and pens. Always will. But these days I only ever seem to type unless I’m on holiday 🙂 However, I do find transferring from hard copy to computer allows more opportunities for redrafting and spotting mistakes. Plus, no-one should ever, EVER have to be exposed to my appalling scrawl.

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      LOL! My handwriting is simply atrocious so i completely understand.

      Like

  15. Reblogged this on cilliersblog and commented:
    Never thought of this but your words make a big differents!

    Like

  16. Nirmala Jagoo-Lalla says:

    Hello easytheregenius, forget the appalling scrawl part, I like the rest of your post and, I agree totally.

    Like

  17. Terry Cooper says:

    To an elderly enfeebled hand ravaged by life and alcohol but still retaining the need to express his mind and feeling, needs must and typing is so more manageable than pen and paper…although those skills once learned and loved keep calling as I pass my pen and ink stand….Ooohh!
    Give me the keypad anytime, oh yes!!!

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      Haha! Terry I love your sense of humour.

      Like

  18. Terry Cooper says:

    I keep trying to ditch the comic in me, but he wakes me up every morning and stays with me all day….its a nightmare.
    People say to the wife “how do you cope with him” I quickly jump in with “she has it easy, I have to live with me all day, it is murder, oh God”
    Sorry, I love the big guy big time and more and more the closer I get to him!!!
    Glad you find something in him! x

    Like

    1. Kim-Lee (Your Writing Lady) says:

      LOL! Murder? Sounds like it would be fun to be able to joke all day! Usually I’m the opposite #dead and that’s definitely murder for me.

      Like

  19. IS IT BETTER TO WRITE OR TYPE? Quite seriously — neither!

    It’s really not a huge investment to buy today’s speech-to-text software (think NUANCE), it’s getting more affordable and more effective all the time. Then you can just talk the thoughts that are in your head … as fast as they come into your head … stop and start … and they just appear on your computer screen, “typed” up to three times faster than you can type yourself … or, for many people, even faster than that … and just about always immaculately spelled. Follow-up editing is very simple, too.

    This also opens wide the door to a fabulous add-on that isn’t expensive, either: a pocket voice recorder with playback. It becomes your 100 percent verbatim notebook … and then the voice recorder play-back can talk to the microphone of your speech-to-text software … you never lose a thought; it will be captured word-for-word as you thought it and spoke it … if a piece of phrasing with which you’ve been wrestling suddenly comes clear on the top of a bus … you don’t need to hope you’ll remember it the way you just thought it … you can trap it quickly and safely on your voice recorder … and in due course get a computer app to turn it into “the clear printed word” you needed.

    IS IT BETTER TO WRITE OR TYPE? For me, quite seriously — neither!

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  20. PS … and if you’re into freelance copy-editing, with speech-to-text software you can speak what your client has written, stop-start think about it and improve/correct it as you go along … and get your — all in one go! It improves “productivity” enormously and your reputation as a really rapid copy-writing resource can go soaring.

    While if you’re initial creativity has to have the slower thoughtfulness of pen-on-paper, or if you’re obdurately committed to the tap-tap of drafting with ‘normal keyboard typing’, a speech-to-text app makes the chore of producing that Final Fair Copy a breeze of just sitting back in an easy chair and “talking” at your computer. Oh my! Me? I find speech-to-text makes word-smithing of every kind a fair deal easier and faster — even the ‘rigorous lay-out’ requirements of movie and TV scripts.

    Like

  21. … there was a “” in the fourth line of that first paragraph when I hit the [POST COMMENT] button. It didn’t get lost by my Dragon!

    Like

  22. Ah! LinkedIn doesn’t like us to use the [greater than] and [less than] symbols. We live and learn.
    I say again: there was a [Final Fair Copy] in the fourth line of that first paragraph(about copy-editing) when I hit the [POST COMMENT] button.
    Fingers crossed!

    Like

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