The Pros and Cons of Writing on a Computer vs Writing by Hand

The third instalment in the now named Writer-Not-Author series of blog posts. Previously we addressed the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing and the pros and cons of pantsing versus plotting. Now we shall take another step back in the creative process and address why No Pants Everyday is applicable to both categories.

There is this remarkable trend in post-secondary education where every professor seems to think it is their sole responsibility to remind the student population that statistics, research, and even the Pope have declared that it is more efficient to record information by hand instead of a computer. They fail to take into account the highly elaborate slides that they use each class and refuse to post online for the students because “it encourages you to attend class”. Fortunately, I am at least partially deaf to these recommendations. However, it does seem vital that we question whether or not the same can be applied to creative writing. Are we better authors when we write by hand? Do we get more done when we are at a computer screen, or is porn the distraction they claim it to be? Let’s break it down!

The Pros of Hammering Out that Novel on a Keyboard

  • Assuming you grew up in the computer age, you were probably taught how to efficiently use a keyboard, which means it is going to take you roughly a half hour to produce several hundred thousand words. Productivity!
  • No more dry hands from handling paper! That means you will have more time to caress your genitals without wincing when you need a break.
  • Let’s face it. You never really mastered ‘spelling’ and ‘grammar’. Fortunately for you, the computer has (more or less). You can make as many speelling mustakes as ewe watn.
  • Hey, did you just finish a novel? Good news! You can publish it now. I mean, you may not want to. A little self-control is always a good thing. But the fact that it is in digital format already is a huge bonus!
  • Automatic backups via dropbox! Take that, easily smeared and lost pieces of paper!
  • That sentence was stupid. You should dele- aaaand it’s gone.
  • Let’s face it, your productivity is either going to be great or, alternately, there is going to be another sale on Steam and the latest Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel DLC will have just dropped and also you have those webcomics to catch up on, and there is all that porn just waiting to be viewed.
  • Carpal Tunnel? What Carpal Tunnel? You have the wrists of a god. I mean, apart from the whole porn issue.
  • No Pants Friday? No Pants Everyday! I mean, the chances are all that porn means you weren’t wearing pants to begin with.

The Cons of Trying to Navigate Technology

  • Did you just press the shift button too many times? Did you turn on sticky keys? Why is it every time you try to capitalize an ‘E’ it turns into some weird character? What sort of demon is haunting my keyboard?
  • Speaking of sticky keys, why is the space bar so stic- ah, wait, no, don’t answer that. If your computer is used for things other than writing you may find that you have to deal with some, er, other issues.
  • Hey, that’s a pretty coloured blue screen! But what is with all these notes talking about errors on it- oh holy mother of ass, no!
  • Technology is unpredictable. That means if you forgot to wash your hands or say your prayers or didn’t give your loose change to that homeless man, you might just receive an unexpected notice that your entire manuscript has become corrupt and the program must now be terminated. Ha ha! Isn’t life grand?
  • Assuming you’re writing on a desktop, you are probably limited on when and where you can write, which means if the urge strikes you… Well, I guess there are always paper napkins?
  • Did you just sneeze into that napkin? Allergy season is the nemesis of the writer.
  • No Pants Everyday may not necessarily be viable if you are writing at home and sitting in a leather chair and it happens to be summer in the Okanagan and… Well, let’s just say that nakedness plus heat plus very particular upholstery may lead to a very unfortunate experience.
  • Let’s face it. There is a certain creativity that comes out of writing by hand that seems to be lost when writing on a computer. I’m not saying writing on a computer is a sham or somehow less genuine, but it’s as if the brain-to-hand connection is somehow less… zazzy.
  • Plus, spellcheck is going to tell you words like ‘zazzy’ aren’t real.

And now… Hand writing!

You thought I was going to write a list in a normal fashion. You were WRONG.

You thought I was going to write a list in a normal fashion. You were WRONG.

It's a big ol' No Pants Party around here!

It’s a big ol’ No Pants Party around here!

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