Friday, October 2, 2009

Computer vs Notebook

Many writers, especially the new or young, try to devise plans of action to ensure they are constantly writing. This is important particularly for the writers that have many competing activities for their time (and honestly who does not fall into this category). In the world of wireless connections and the all-in-one computer (the cellphone), writers have many choices to pick from when trying to get their work down. I argue the biggest debate of this process is what is more productive, using the computer or writing it all out by hand? I am torn on the subject. I love the computer for its easy edits, clear legibility, and ease of structural changes. Yet, the computer can be just as distracting as my own life. The Internet is always trying to seduce me to a new Google search, my cluttered desktop begs to be cleaned, and perusing through a photo slide show is always a tempting trip.
So then I scream, just give me my paper and pen and I will produce pages! This too has its perks and downfalls. The blank (or lined) page is a refreshing return to the basics. The tools are more portable than computer cases and power cords. And there are fewer distractions within the tools themselves. It is the outside distractions that seem to take over. I also find it hard sometimes when returning to write, not to reread and edit what I wrote before. Most distressing is the ease with which the creative pages once created can be lost forever. The notepad has not evolved a "save" button just yet.
Therefore, what is the better medium for writing? The obvious answer is it changes with each individual. Everyone has their own "in-the-zone" environment, but it's important to be open to others' suggestions. As we change as writer's so does our own tastes and productive capabilities.
Personally, I work best with a pen and legal pad. I often prefer to write small segments of my work over a longer period of time. I need the chance to get the piece out in as many ways as possible to find what it truly wants to be. For example, I worked on a short story all summer never writing more than three pages, but I wrote them in over ten different points of views, tenses, and structures. I believe I needed to do this in order to narrow down my own style of writing. Too explore the different techniques available to me as a writer and which ones work best for me. The goal being the more I write the easier it will be for me to discover my own voice. And as of today it is the pen and pad that helps me on that journey.