Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday Supplement. Pen vs. Computer

(Heard that Andy Rooney died.  God speed, you enjoyable old grump...)

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

This is a writing prompt from Blogher, and I thought it was interesting.  I write in pen most of the time.  I actually have been teased at the substation by one of my bosses, as she thinks it is a slow and clunky way of writing.  So be it, that is the way I grew up with, and am comfortable with.  I actually type very quickly, I have even had occasions where the computer and I catch typos at the same time.  Problem is, the computer with auto correct, and me with eyeball correct, tend to then both try and do correcting! 

 This usually doesn't end well...

I write letters to my Grandma in pen about half the time, and on the computer about half the time.  I find it more a matter of time, if I want to write her quickly, I generally write with the computer.  If I want to write, and I know I will be running around a lot, I write with pen and clipboard.  I find it funny, she comments about how I use the computer to type letters, and sort of chides me about it, why don't I write instead of using "that machine".  

Her letters?  Type written on a typewriter...  Meh.

I like typing, now that I can do it.  While I still fumble at the keyboard occasionally, (I don't know how many times a contraction gets " instead of ' in it...), I find it makes a nice, clean result for reading.  But when I am writing my novel, or planning, I really am not as concerned with legibility.  I do want to be able to read it, obviously, but I do have no aspirations to be a doctor, so my handwriting is pretty read-able, unless I am tired, or I manage to get bumped while writing.  (Writing while in the car takes it to a whole new level of legibility, I might add...)  When I was learning to type, though, oh, my, word!  I could take an innocent page and utterly annihilate the thing I was trying to type.  Just the simple stuff, "The big red fox jumped over the lazy dog" type things, would somehow often end up with a number (or more than one!) in it...  But I finally found out with practice and ignoring a few "rules" the typing teacher taught me, (I have found that if I hold my hands up while typing like a pianist does, I type lousy.  If I type with my hands actually resting on the keyboard, I type faster, with fewer mistakes.  Go figure...)

So.  In the pen vs. computer debate, I say pens win by a roller ball.  I like working with the computer, I am good at it, but for me, I like the tactile paper and pen writing style.  I don't have a smart phone/computer, so portability of my laptop is less than the clipboard.  And I tend to be a bit snarky, I can use a pen with the power out.  And pens are waaaaaaaaaaaay cheaper than computers when replacements are needed!  


  1. Pen when i am musing.

    Computer when i want to communicate with others.

    My parents send everything by email.

  2. I can't type, I make many mistakes, but I can fix them and no one is the wiser.

    If I use a pen, the pages look awful, with words scratched out, misspelled and then there is the size, for some reason the words get smaller and smaller and then they go off at an angle.....


  3. Since I didn't have a computer all summer long, I had to communicate via phone or actually using a pen to write with. That did not go well. I envy those of you born here, who learned in school to write such beautiful rounded letters. Not me, my hand writing is awful and getting very much worse with age. I remember typewriters with horror, all those copies, all that whiteout.... I also remember when our office got the very first word processor. Oh, I was so envious of the secretary to the boss, who was the only one with such a wonderful machine that corrected itself. Then of course computers came along. Thanks for this -- made me take a trip back memory lane. Oh, when I learned to write, we actually had ink wells and those pens that you dipped in ink. Try that sometime for fun!

  4. I do 99.9999% of my writing on the computer. I haven't practiced my handwriting skills enough recently. My writing is terrible and my hand cramps! But... I love beautiful pens and interesting papers! I covet things from Levenger's catalog... but fail to purchase them or put them on my Christmas list because I won't use them! What conflicting emotions/actions!

  5. messymimi:

    I find that is probably a good way to go. I use email when it needs to be quick. Ironically, it may or may not be responded to any faster than classic mail... Huh...


  6. Inger:

    I would say that it's been a long road to have decent handwriting. I am complimented now, but boy, it took a long time to get to that point! My biggest problem with typewriters was that I don't have very good finger strength, and I ended up with sore fingers when I typed. And I used an ink pen with nib for drawing, so yes I know about that, my biggest problem was not ending up making finger prints all over, since I usually 'choked up' on the pen, holding it very near the (Usually inked) end... I sometimes had lots to clean when I finished...


  7. Sharon:
    Well, Blogger obviously ate my comment... (grrr.)
    Ok, so, I don't see a problem with the computer, I just happen to think writing by hand shows the "thought process" messy writing, mistakes, and all. It is more fascinating to me to look at an old journal than to read the same thing written in 12 point Times Roman... But, you know, if it's communication, I won't complain.


  8. Dreaming:

    I guess if you are able to type well, and get your point across, go with what you do best. Having had hand cramps, I can appreciate that it might make writing a less than exciting event. Oooh, never heard of Levenger's before, looked it up on line, I am going to have to sit down and peruse this thoroughly! Pretty!!



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