I’ve been reading a few posts recently about how we write our blogs, whether we use a computer, the WP App via a SMARTphone etc and it got me to wondering if how we write – pen and paper or electronically – make a difference to how we write. Specifically in this post I ask whether using a computer to write my first draft makes me a lazy blogger. To find out the answer to this question and to share my discoveries please read on.
This post is the product of inspiration when I was actually writing something else, but when inspiration strikes I’m grabbing it with both hands. Today’s post was supposed to be about the importance of structure, I’m not sure how I got from there to here, but I did start to think about the process of writing and whether computers make us lazy.
Let’s start with some more questions to ponder – do we spend less time writing and editing drafts compared to writing longhand with pen and paper? Or is that just my perception?
As I worked on this post, these are the questions I found myself asking. Maybe it’s just me, but when I type directly onto the computer I print less off and also find I’m editing less. Is it fair to say I’m lazy? Also, if I follow my thinking, am I producing a poorer piece of work when type directly into electronic format compared to taking the time to put pen to paper first.
Let’s look at this logically, and I can apply how I work to all areas: lesson planning, developing course materials etc as well as writing for my blog. I can only commit to text electronically when I already have a clear idea of what I want to say in my head. My structure and arguments are clear before I get started.
So if I’m playing about with ideas I need pen and paper to allow me to explore my thoughts. Sometimes I can start working on a piece of writing and that helps me formulate my ideas and I can quite quickly move to the computer to type everything up – its as if I’m transcribing the mental notes have created in my head – I can type them directly without the need to commit them to paper first.
I know this is time-saving if I’m writing a lesson plan but I do still wonder if I’m missing out on some creative thinking and inspiration when I go straight to text with my blog post ideas. I believe I dont reflect while I type as much as I do when writing.
For example, I’m writing this longhand on a train – as I said earlier, it’s not the blog I intended to write, but working with pen and paper, this is the one that needed to be written. Had I brought my tablet with me – I note it didn’t occur to me to use the WP App on my phone – I would have written the post on structure and I believe there is a strong possibility this would never have been written, I wouldn’t have got the inspiration.
Could it be more that typing is linked to the analytical, rational side of my brain so I’m more focused on productivity and task completion, whereas writing by hand is more creative. Through my longhand writing I’m more expressive and therefore more open to being creative and more likely to have inspiration strike.
I talked earlier about writing and swapping to the keyboard as everything seems perfectly formed in my head and I know exactly what I want to say. The converse is also true. I can sit in front of a screen with a blank page and just don’t know where or how to start. Maybe I haven’t yet created a toolkit for electronic writer’s block, but it doesn’t seem to happen with the pen. Even if I end up with a finished article which didn’t meet my initial brief.
Returning to my opening question, I don’t believe typing rather than writing means I’m lazy or makes me lazy. I do, however, believe that in the right circumstances, it can be more efficient but there may be a cost if it means that the reflection, inspiration and creativity that comes with hand-written drafts means arguments aren’t as developed, points of view etc aren’t explored etc. so it may be brevity that results in less depth of thought and discussion, but still a perfectly acceptable post.
This is my own experience driven thoughts, but I’d love to hear what others think – maybe I’m just old-school and more familiar and comfortable with pen and paper. I also wonder if you could tell the difference between the blogs written by hand and those created directly on a computer?