Thursday, March 29, 2007

How do you write?

I have been wondering for sometime what is the best way to write. On paper or straight on to the computer? I'm sure every writer finds their own preferred method of working and I think for me it varies. On the rare occasions that I am writing poetry I do find it easier to write longhand and type up when the poem is fairly polished. For prose, however, I prefer to type straight into the computer as I often edit quite a lot as I am going along.

The one disadvantage is that this method is not very portable. I do use a laptop but it has poor battery life now and would be quite heavy to carry around. I have therefore been wondering if it might be worthwhile to invest in an Alphasmart word processsor to complement it. I have been aware of these little machines for ages as they are often used in schools, particularly for children who find writing by hand difficult due to physical or learning difficulties. I hadn't, however, realised until more recently that they are also used by journalists and writers amongst others.

So I am weighing up whether it would be worth buying one for home as it could be used both by myself and son 1 who, although bright, often has difficulty getting his thoughts down on paper. We have already noticed that his spelling is much improved when he types and an Alphasmart would both complement that and allow him to write without the distraction of the internet. I can already see myself taking one out and about so I can write anywhere. Perhaps the novel would even progress a bit faster!

I have my eye on the Neo, but I think I will look on eBay first before deciding to spend that much money. Keris has already said how much she loves her Alphasmart...anyone else got any views?


Anne Brooke said...

Ooh, I don't know, Cathy - I'm hopeless with technology. I agree with you about the poetry - I always do longhand for that and then type it up.

For prose, it tends to vary and I can never tell. For a while up until recently I've been typing straight to screen, but with "The Gifting", I suddenly switched in the last month or so and have been scribbling first and then typing up. I seem able to get into Simon's character better that way, but then I suppose he is a scribe. Amongst other things. Hmm. That's the first time I've actually made that real physical writing connection - and hey it makes sense! So thanks for that insight!



Jackie Luben said...

As I started off writing by hand and then copy typing with a very ancient non-portable typewriter, I always feel that I can revert back to pen and paper when necessary. though I love my computer.

This means that when I go somewhere by train, I take a notepad with me and sometime manage to create about half a story. I also handwrite on holiday. (Half my time is spent reading, the other half writing,) and find it very satisfying to come back with pages of scribble. The only problem is that since using a WP- about the last 20 years - My handwriting is not as good as it used to be, and strangely, I transpose letters on the page.


Beta Mum said...

I find i can't write without a PC to correct my lower case "i"s which i can't be bothered to capitalise.
If i'm away/out/on a train, I make notes in my leather-bound noteboook which i feel almost too guilty to despoil with my messy scrawl... but not quite guilty enough to leave blank.
Not after what it cost, anyhow.
Jacqueline Wilson apparently writes in longhand, in notebooks, even if she has just ten minutes to spare.
I can't get down to it without at least half an hour in hand.