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Why Do People Prefer To Write On Computer


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#1 andreasn

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:15

why do most people seem to think that it's easier to write on a computer (especially young people, though i am young myself) rather than by hand?

 

for me writing by hand eliminates all the trouble of formatting and other troubles. it's also much easier on your eyes and brain, you don't have to think about as much extra stuff like where the cursor is and you don't have to look at a bright screen all the time.

 

plus when i'm writing I don't want to be too modern. I don't always like all this technology around me  (but equally often I just love how science fiction the world around me is).¨

 

that said I do do a lot of stuff on the computer like gaming and browsing the internet for a large part of my day. I just don't like to write or do crosswords or anything like that on it.

 



#2 CaptainBA

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:30

I'm in my mid-twenties, I grew up with computers. My sister is younger and grew up with cell phones and computers. They're using more and more computers at school and have less emphasis on handwriting and pens. So if you're not writing a lot, why would you care about what pens you use? A lot of people would say nostalgia. Nostalgia to me isn't the same as most of the people on FPN. My generation? Nostalgia is Super Mario World, the Pokemon shows, and GameBoys. Not fountain pens and writing letters. I didn't know fountain pens were a thing until about college. I didn't send my first handwritten letter until a friend went to bootcamp while I was in college. Things like the cursor and formatting are just things I'm used to. I have no issues ignoring the red squggly lines.

 

That being said, I like writing things down by hand and fountain pens...or else I wouldn't be on FPN. 


Edited by CaptainBA, 09 June 2014 - 21:31.

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#3 sgage

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:41

I love to write with my fountain pens, and I keep a journal in longhand.

 

But I also write extensively on my computer, keeping sort of parallel journals, for 2 reasons:

 

1) You can password protect a computer file. There's just some stuff I want to keep really to myself. Nothing criminal, mind you -  just embarassing ;-)  Though some pretty dicey stuff gets into my handwritten journal :-)

 

2) You can easily search computer documents. One reason I keep a journal is to be able to answer questions like "when did I do this-or-that", or "when did so-and-so visit", etc. etc.  I can easily search a folder full of journal files and find out.

 

So that's my take on the issue. BTW, I'm in my late-50's, and learned to type on a manual typewriter :-)


Edited by sgage, 09 June 2014 - 21:51.


#4 The Blue Knight

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:42

If I had to write my 10 page lab reports every two weeks by hand and it would be a night mare. I'm as much as of an FP geek as the next member however there are distinct benefits of typing things over writing them. It's far easier to draft out work on a computer and make improvements then starting again every time. I don't want to go through all the benefits as many of them are obvious but I'd hate it if I had to write long reports out by hand.

 

I think as a tool for learning and memorizing nothing beats pen and paper but for technical writing and essay / course work writing a computer is far better.


Edited by top pen, 09 June 2014 - 21:45.


#5 CaptainBA

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:44

I completely agree with that Top Pen. If I had to write my school work out I would never had graduated. I'd still be there, writing my reports out longhand.


Edited by CaptainBA, 09 June 2014 - 21:44.

I'll keep on struggling, 'cause that's the measure of a man.


#6 inotrym

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:06

For ease of use and speed.

 

I can type waaaaay faster than I can write.

I can easily correct mistakes, I can add sentences in between or move/remove them.

I can safely store my text (water, fire, dirt, or physical damage cannot affect my dropbox files), copy it, share it.

And nomatter how many changes I make, I will never have to rewrite the whole page, just to make it look nice.

 

 

I LOVE fountain pens and I use them daily, but technology is here to stay. IMO, it's a blessing for mankind.

 

 

PS. I must admit though that I am in my mid-twenties and an electronics engineer, so my opinion is rather biased :P



#7 fledermaus89

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:18

As for formatting, latex does the job 1000x better than me on paper with my handwriting. In most cases people don't accept physical documents anymore so there's really no point in writing something by hand and faxing or scanning and attaching the image to an email.



#8 beak

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:26

I guess if we accept the premiss (that people do prefer to write on a computer) then they want to do the sort of writing that computers are a great help to perform - those reports and such like mentioned above.  But we sometimes want to write by hand.

 

This begins to illuminate the fact that the two types of writing are somehow different.  Exactly why they are different has been talked about quite a bit on FPN, and elsewhere.

 

The only thing I'd add to that discussion today is the quite apparent fact that continuing to write by hand regularly will improve one's writing on a computer.

 

This is the same in many other fields where there is an manual and a digital approach.


Sincerely, beak. God does not work in mysterious ways – he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.

#9 recluse

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:50

There are many-many reasons why people prefer writing on computer. And there are many reason why people to prefer writing by hand. It appears that these two modes of writing rather complement each other than oppose.

 

Consider walking and driving a car. There are some tasks that can be done only one way: either by driving or by walking, But much more numerous are those tasks that combine both.



#10 sgage

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:55

For ease of use and speed.

 

I can type waaaaay faster than I can write.

I can easily correct mistakes, I can add sentences in between or move/remove them.

I can safely store my text (water, fire, dirt, or physical damage cannot affect my dropbox files), copy it, share it.

And nomatter how many changes I make, I will never have to rewrite the whole page, just to make it look nice.

 

 

I LOVE fountain pens and I use them daily, but technology is here to stay. IMO, it's a blessing for mankind.

 

 

PS. I must admit though that I am in my mid-twenties and an electronics engineer, so my opinion is rather biased :P

 

I have been in the computer biz since the late 70's.

 

All those reasons you gave above are why I like to write with a fountain pen. What's the hurry? What's wrong with mistakes? Slow down a bit and you might not make so many. And surely, what looks nicer than a  handwritten page.

 

Never, ever forget: Every automation is an amputation.



#11 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:57

Computer has spell check...Like Tommy Jefferson, I know many ways to spell a word.

I grew up when a smart typewriter was an daisy-wheel IBM Selectric II and as expensive as all hell. It could erase a word or two...all by it's self....no getting out the white out. :thumbup:

Then came the Brother typewriter computer that allowed you to erase a full line. :notworthy1:

A typewriter defiantly made you think 3 time harder than a computer.....you had all that cut with a scissor and use glue to paste.

Then you had to type it all over again. :wallbash:

One wrote shorter...less wordy....laziness...

 

Then came the big 64 K Kaypro with the same keyboard as on the $10,000 computers and Word Star....pre'point and drag.... all sorts of little commands you had to learn, and you did not need metal scissors any more. :notworthy1: You could put in a single sided floppy disk to check your spelling. :D :notworthy1:  :thumbup: 

I hated the mouse the first time I used it :gaah: ....now would not be with out. That was and is a grand keyboard....real IBM Selectric in feel.

Did I mention I learned to pound a keyboard on a manual.....very slowly....good for muscular hands.

 

I'm stumbling slowly to the end of the worlds longest western. I write much of that on a computer, in I'd have to type it in as is, when I do a draft a scene or add in notes.

 

Some times writing a scene or part of one on paper is much better than a computer in I have more freedom on paper.

Mostly I use a fountain pen in they are not as much hard work as a ball point.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 09 June 2014 - 23:01.

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For that get a 'flexi' or a "flex" nib.

"

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#12 ISW_Kaputnik

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:13

Speed, ease of editing, spell check, and nobody should say that they can't read your typing.

 

Writing on paper with a pen is more enjoyable for me, but it's not always about enjoyment.


“If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.” -- Don Marquis

#13 Bookman

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:32

I'm already there for the porn, Amazon, Google, IMDB, FPN, NYT, RefDesk, HuffPo, LL Bean, REI, Zagat, and Hotels.com.  Writing on the computer—it's just a few more keys.


I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

#14 inotrym

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:36

 

I have been in the computer biz since the late 70's.

 

All those reasons you gave above are why I like to write with a fountain pen. What's the hurry? What's wrong with mistakes? Slow down a bit and you might not make so many. And surely, what looks nicer than a  handwritten page.

 

Never, ever forget: Every automation is an amputation.

 

Messy writing makes my thinking messy. I can concentrate better with a tidy workspace and a tidy notebook (either virtual or physical - the advantage of virtual being that it is easier to be kept that way).

 

 

Automation CAN become an amputation if blindly and unnecessarily applied. That is not always the case.

 

I highly doubt I could submit my 150page diploma thesis handwritten.

Quick notes, drafts, memos etc are a whole different story..

 

After all, there is no "best tool", but rather "best tool for a specific application".


Edited by inotrym, 09 June 2014 - 23:38.


#15 lynxcat

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:47

typing, for me,  is bulk writing. meat and potatoes. easier to edit, easier to rewrite, easier to do a lot of writing quickly. i can type a lot faster than i can write with a pen --- and that's without figuring in editing and error-fixing time; once you do, the balance tips so heavily in the text editor's favor it's not even funny. typing is a high octane process, to me; gets my mind spinning.

 

hand writing, for me, is about focusing, centering, and winding down. it's what i do to relax and calm my thinking; a page or two of journalling at the end of the day, and if they take an hour each, so be it.

 

oddly enough, quick jotted notes and lists also get handwritten. but they're another story entirely, they need no thought of any kind.



#16 colrehogan

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 00:25

I find that when I need to word something in a particular manner that I will reach for a piece of paper and a pen. Usually this is a short document. I have been writng some of my short story notes on paper. I then enter them and do edits in the computer.

I went through school and when I had to have a report typewritten, I had to ask my mom. I finally took typing in summer school before my junior year of high school. Most of my college papers I handwrote, as typing was a hassle on a typewriter (or the printer would malfunction the morning that something was due).
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#17 Beckwith

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:26

I'm part of the tech generation...

 

I prefer writing by hand for most tasks because 1) I can go back and edit somewhat more easily; 2) I can organize in electronic files and folders, which are easier to move around, copy, and send to people than hard copies of documents. 



#18 proton007

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:49

Computer has spell check...Like Tommy Jefferson, I know many ways to spell a word.

I grew up when a smart typewriter was an daisy-wheel IBM Selectric II and as expensive as all hell. It could erase a word or two...all by it's self....no getting out the white out. :thumbup:

Then came the Brother typewriter computer that allowed you to erase a full line. :notworthy1:

A typewriter defiantly made you think 3 time harder than a computer.....you had all that cut with a scissor and use glue to paste.

Then you had to type it all over again. :wallbash:

One wrote shorter...less wordy....laziness...

 

Then came the big 64 K Kaypro with the same keyboard as on the $10,000 computers and Word Star....pre'point and drag.... all sorts of little commands you had to learn, and you did not need metal scissors any more. :notworthy1: You could put in a single sided floppy disk to check your spelling. :D :notworthy1:  :thumbup:

I hated the mouse the first time I used it :gaah: ....now would not be with out. That was and is a grand keyboard....real IBM Selectric in feel.

Did I mention I learned to pound a keyboard on a manual.....very slowly....good for muscular hands.

 

I'm stumbling slowly to the end of the worlds longest western. I write much of that on a computer, in I'd have to type it in as is, when I do a draft a scene or add in notes.

 

Some times writing a scene or part of one on paper is much better than a computer in I have more freedom on paper.

Mostly I use a fountain pen in they are not as much hard work as a ball point.

 

An interesting history of writing tools.

 

The way I see it, the need of typewriters and word-processors stems from the need to present and preserve standardized documents in governments and businesses.

The document is the constant here, it may go through the hands of many different people over it's lifetime, essentially it's a raw material for 'tools' which get replaced or worn out over time. Depersonalization and Alienation come to mind, because that's the modus operandi of an organization.

 

 

When it comes to personal use, what's the need for standardization? You (and probably a chosen few) are the only reader(s) of the documents, there's no need for any contraptions.

Use a FP, it'll do you good.


Edited by proton007, 10 June 2014 - 01:50.

The sun sets behind you, And it shines on me too
This view must be the highest beauty
And I know that light will pass, And the dark will fall
But I don't care about that now, No I don't care about that now

The days we spend, Searching, sometimes finding
If we die today, we should die smiling,
And I know these times will be gone someday, But I don't care about that now


#19 sgage

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:53

Here's a well thought out take on the subject:

 

http://www.jmarkbert...riting-by-hand/



#20 Bookman

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:18

I think writing by hand taps into an ancient, creative area of the brain that doesn't get tapped when keyboarding.  I think that when one learns to compose at a keyboard the brain simply finds new neural pathways to get around the one that's beginning to atrophy from nonuse.  Maybe the new pathways are wildly successful, maybe not.  When I was young and began writing stories and plays I wrote everything by hand, and the ideas and words flowed easily if not brilliantly.  When I decided to transition to a typewriter back in the 1980s it was a struggle.  Whatever was in my brain couldn't seem to find a way out while I was sitting in front of that IBM Selectric.  It took several weeks to begin feeling truly comfortable composing on the typewriter without resorting to penning my first draft by hand as of old.  And then when I transitioned back to writing by hand in 2009 I had the same struggle.  Those old, formerly fit neural pathways between my writing hand and the creative area of my brain had atrophied and needed rehab and exercise and reawakening.  I compose emails and posts on the keyboard now, but nothing else.  I can still type faster than I handwrite, but my mind isn't racing to keep up with my fingers.  Having swung both ways for long stretches I can say writing by hand just feels right in a way that keyboarding never did.


I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

#21 Kataphract

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:36

why do most people seem to think that it's easier to write on a computer (especially young people, though i am young myself) rather than by hand?
 
for me writing by hand eliminates all the trouble of formatting and other troubles. it's also much easier on your eyes and brain, you don't have to think about as much extra stuff like where the cursor is and you don't have to look at a bright screen all the time.
 
plus when i'm writing I don't want to be too modern. I don't always like all this technology around me  (but equally often I just love how science fiction the world around me is).¨
 
that said I do do a lot of stuff on the computer like gaming and browsing the internet for a large part of my day. I just don't like to write or do crosswords or anything like that on it.


So...any particular reason you didn't write that out by hand, scan it and post it that way? Answer that and I think you have answered your own question.

#22 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:46

It depends on what I am writing. For a lot of things I like to hand write. For some things, it is impractical - and others impossible. Like when I was teaching - if I assigned a paper it had to be done APA format. I was required to have the students do it that way. Next to impossible to do that hand written. (I wasn't the APA nazi though - I left that to other faculty members. If it was the basic format I was good. I was more concerned about content.)

 

The 10 page reports - no way I would want to do those by hand. The computer is just better for some things. In college, I had my wife type stuff up for me that had to be typewritten for my classwork. And most of those were 3-5 pages. She is a faster typist AND more accurate. I still don't have the speed, but I am "fast enough".

 

Like someone else said, they compliment each other. Not sure if I would want to hand write a Masters thesis or Doctoral dissertation and then type it for submission.

 

With all that being said, sometimes handwriting is better because you don't have that distraction called "the internet".


Brad "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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#23 tonybelding

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:57

I have no problem writing letters -- long letters -- by hand, not to mention my journal entries.

 

However...  My attempts to compose prose fiction with pen and paper hit a brick wall.  I just can't do it anymore.  It seems that my process of composition and editing have become so entangled that I can no longer do them separately.


Edited by tonybelding, 10 June 2014 - 02:57.


#24 penmanila

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 03:19

i love fountain pens (obviously, if i have over 200 of them) but i don't let romance get in the way of practicality. i work as a professor and also as a professional writer and editor, and computers give me many options i just can't have with handwriting--cut-and-paste, quick revision, saving the file, spell-checking, Google, email, etc. if i had to write all my output by hand i wouldn't be able to get 10% of my workload done by the end of the day--and then that output would have to be manually encoded by somebody else, who would likely introduce errors into the text. computers were invented for a reason. writing by hand may force us to think more about what we're writing, which is a good thing, but i can't agree that it necessarily improves the quality of the finished work--you're less likely to revise a handwritten essay, for example, just because of the tediousness of rewriting the entire draft.


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#25 Auspice

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 03:52

As an aspiring author, I prefer to write my first/rough draft on the computer. Why? It's mostly a brain dump. I need to be able to work fast sometimes or I lose what I was thinking. I also use 'Q10' which is a 'distraction free' program. It doesn't tell me about my grammar. It doesn't warn me something is spelled incorrectly. It takes over the entire screen and only displays the information I want. It also has a handy function in which I can hit '.. <note>' and have a searchable database of the notes I tossed in as I was writing. This keeps me focused in one place. 

 

However, that said...

 

Notes regarding the story? My timeline? My character notes? All get written by hand first. I have a database I put things in later (again: searchable). 

 

I also print out my rough/first draft and go through it with a pen, making note and marking off anything vital. I'll also sometimes write certain scenes, dialogue, etc., by hand... But when I'm writing, say, a battle scene in a fantasy setting? My mind goes as fast as the action. My hand could never keep up.



#26 MattD

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 04:09

I usually write long handed when working on fiction. It keeps me from getting ahead of myself, and thwarts my tendency to want to reword, rearrange, and change constantly. I can, and have, spent three hours on a computer writing, and had less than a page for my efforts. An extensively edited page, but only one.

When I handwrite, my brain doesn't have to rush to keep a steady flow of words. It is more relaxing, for sure.

On the other hand, sometimes the words come in a torrent, and I can't keep up with a pen. To try is to risk losing the thread. So, at those times I grab my little ultra book and go at it. Even then, I am sometimes not fast enough, and witty dialog and nifty twists disappear forever.

It takes me a little more than two minutes to type a handwritten page that takes me 30 minutes to write, so I am much, much faster at typing. It is kind of depressing sometimes, when moving something into the computer for editing!

#27 pschwartz

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 04:37

This is a fascinating discussion, thanks everyone for their contribution. I also transitioned from pen and paper, to typewriter to computer, to voice activated cell phone and have not gone back seeking access to those 'ancient areas of the brain'. The technologies each shape what we write and the shaping is significantly different. I recently read an interesting book on Gandhi--Gandhi's Printing Press, by a South African writer, Isabel Hofymyer who makes a great case from slow reading and slow writing... something that Gandhi tried to achieve with his fountain pen and then a hand operated printing press. He was fond of quoting Thoreau's warning that going too fast would 'macadamize' the mind. That is an old word for 'paving'. So here's to the rutted roads, the wandering paths and the uneven ground of handwriting!



#28 LBpens

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 14:26

Depends on what I'm writing. If it's a journal, it is stream of consciousness and I write it on paper. If it is something for publication, I edit some as I go, and often move paragraphs around, see how they read that way, and sometimes move them back. Besides, I will eventually have to enter it into word anyway.


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#29 Biber

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 14:51

The ability (convenience actually) to add, delete, correct, revise, and edit as you go. The last paper I wrote the first draft entirely by hand was in the fall of 1995.



#30 Blazing

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 15:45

Although many of us here are big pen enthusiasts, I think that we all have to admit that fountain pens aren't always the best option. There are many benefits to typing things up on a computer, such as the option to easily replace pieces of text and edit them without having to cross them out [which ends up looking ugly]. It is also quicker to type and easier to learn to type fast than it is to learn how to write fast.


Pens that I own

An Italix Parson's Essential in black with a medium nib, a Faber Castell Loom in blue in a medium nib, a Pilot MR in black with a medium nib [no patterns] and a Lamy Safari LE 2012 Apple Green in a medium nib.

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Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black [bottled], Lamy Blue [bottled], Diamine Jet Black [cartridge] and various ink cartridges which came with my pens.