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Thread: What do you write with?

  1. #1
    Registered User Sospira's Avatar
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    What do you write with?

    What do you prefer to write with...laptop, typewriter, by hand first..? I am trying to find the best way for myself. I think a typewriter could work well for me, as I don't find computers very conducive to inspiring or maintaining my poetic mood - all that electricity buzzing seems to sap out the poetry from my world...well not entirely. I do use a computer for writing but am wondering if there is a better way for me. But with typewriters, how do you erase or move things around, you can't exactly cut and paste can you? My ideas need a lot of moving around on the page, they come out disjointed i.e. the end of an idea before the beginning, and just generally need to edit and improve on things or delete things etc .What are electric typewriters like?

  2. #2
    Registered User DATo's Avatar
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    I have found that the convenience of using the computer makes writing easier for me. It is so much faster to to simply delete, and/or replace words and paragraphs in another position using "cut & paste" capabilities of the computer rather than retyping, or erasing and rewriting on paper. Also, the computer (while online) allows one to check such things as historical dates and other material for accuracy before putting it into a story. And all of this is before I ever get to the automatic spell checker which I simply could not live without .... I couldn't .... I'd probably die with a murmuring diphthong in my throat *L*

  3. #3
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    I mainly use a computer, but I put the documents in Google Drive so I could access them from my tablet or phone. As DATo mentioned, working with the internet is also convenient. I haven't seen a manual typewriter in years.

    When I'm walking and taking notes, I use a small notebook although I could also use the phone if I forgot the notebook and pen, but I don't want to use the battery on this since I might also want to take photos.

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    Bohemian Marbles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DATo View Post
    I have found that the convenience of using the computer makes writing easier for me. It is so much faster to to simply delete, and/or replace words and paragraphs in another position using "cut & paste" capabilities of the computer rather than retyping, or erasing and rewriting on paper. Also, the computer (while online) allows one to check such things as historical dates and other material for accuracy before putting it into a story. And all of this is before I ever get to the automatic spell checker which I simply could not live without .... I couldn't .... I'd probably die with a murmuring diphthong in my throat *L*
    Computers have made writers careless and frivolous. They know that they can write paragraphs upon paragraphs only to erase them with the convenience of a simple mouse click; the care for thought and content, the importance of knowing one's words and spellings, in the old days of pen-and-paper and even typewriters, seems to have lost a lot of its importance in the age of easily erasable writing.

    The dexterity with which writers used historical content to incorporate into their texts is also, often, lacking. Once one had to be read thoroughly to write anything on history; now one can glide along with the basics and beef up info with Google searches. It makes life easier, surely, but it also means that the historical bit is haphazardly knitted in the fabric of the text so that its roughness is felt on the aesthetic eye, because a writer hasn't a profound understanding of his history, and it gives their text a sheen of the superfluous.

    My one advice to writers who use history in their writings, or those who make a lot of cultural and literary references, is to make sure they don't try to appear more well-read and knowledgeable than they are. Because, in the end, it always shows, and that's because their projected knowledge is not a result of a deep study like Borges's or Nabokov's but skimmed off the pages of the web.
    Last edited by Marbles; 11-03-2014 at 04:19 AM.
    But you, cloudless girl, question of smoke, corn tassel
    You were what the wind was making with illuminated leaves.
    ah, I can say nothing! You were made of everything.

    _Pablo Neruda

  5. #5
    Registered User DATo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marbles View Post
    Computers have made writers careless and frivolous. They know that they can write paragraphs upon paragraphs only to erase them with the convenience of a simple mouse click; the care for thought and content, the importance of knowing one's words and spellings, in the old days of pen-and-paper and even typewriters, seems to have lost a lot of its importance in the age of easily erasable writing.

    The dexterity with which writers used historical content to incorporate into their texts is also, often, lacking. Once one had to be read thoroughly to write anything on history; now one can glide along with the basics and beef up info with Google searches. It makes life easier, surely, but it also means that the historical bit is haphazardly knitted in the fabric of the text so that its roughness is felt on the aesthetic eye, because a writer hasn't a profound understanding of his history, and it gives their text a sheen of the superfluous.

    My one advice to writers who use history in their writings, or those who make a lot of cultural and literary references, is to make sure they don't try to appear more well-read and knowledgeable than they are. Because, in the end, it always shows, and that's because their projected knowledge is not a result of a deep study like Borges's or Nabokov's but skimmed off the pages of the web.
    Do you seriously contend that writers of antiquity would not use our current technology if it were available to them in their own times; that movie makers would not use it; that scientists would prefer a slide rule, and abacus to a computer? Can you possibly imagine what might have been the result if Isaac Newton had access to a computer .... Einstein? Can you imagine how much more prolific would have been the output of Shakespeare, Goethe or Dostoyevsky if they had access to a word processor? Can you imagine the look on Orson Welles' face after seeing the movie, The Return Of The King? Would he not be willing to trash Citizen Kane, or, verily, sell his very soul to the devil for access to such movie-making technology?

    Are you maintaining that before a writer can include a reference to Alexander's conquest at Gaugamela that he must first have the equivalent of a PhD in history and know the date of this battle as a matter of course? That unless a writer is steeped in the details of the subject he refers to in his writing he must remain silent?

    I wrote a short story which can be found here at the Lit Net called Werewolf. In it there were references to days, and the dates they fell on. I meticulously looked up the days online and the dates on which they occurred as well as the actual dates, over 100 years ago, upon which full moons occurred. Now, would you contend that I should not have used this information because it was acquired online - that I, as a writer, should be some autistic savant who must know the days and dates upon which they fell from memory? I also included reference to an historically authentic, 19th century English gentleman's club as well as its actual historical address in the heart of London. Am I presumptuous in my wish to be accurate to history and include the name of a real club and its address by looking it up online? By your contention I should either be expertly read on English gentlemen's clubs or not refer to them at all.

    Now, perhaps I will surprise you by agreeing that today's writers ARE making life easier for themselves by using our current technology, and, furthermore, I hold the prowess of past writers as nothing short of miraculous owing largely to the vast database of knowledge they were REQUIRED to assimilate in order to be proficient in their work, but I do not consider it cheating for a contemporary writer to use whatever tools are available to him to advance his efforts.

  6. #6
    Bohemian Marbles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DATo View Post
    Do you seriously contend that writers of antiquity would not use our current technology if it were available to them in their own times; that movie makers would not use it; that scientists would prefer a slide rule, and abacus to a computer? Can you possibly imagine what might have been the result if Isaac Newton had access to a computer .... Einstein? Can you imagine how much more prolific would have been the output of Shakespeare, Goethe or Dostoyevsky if they had access to a word processor? Can you imagine the look on Orson Welles' face after seeing the movie, The Return Of The King? Would he not be willing to trash Citizen Kane, or, verily, sell his very soul to the devil for access to such movie-making technology?
    There is a widespread belief that technological inventions are progressing humanity and that we today are better placed than our predecessors. This may or may not true.

    It's true of staple crops if we're talking about agriculture or travelling from Trinidad to London, but arts and literature (and with that collective wisdom) do not have a directly proportional relationship with advancing technology. If anything, we have seen a gradual dumbing down of arts for the sake of popular appeal and mass market. Our writings, our treatment of knowledge and history - our collective artistic merit, in short - have not improved with technology. I think it's wishful thinking to believe that it has.

    I'm not a fan of retrospective speculation and of transposing one period of time on another. It's like saying if God had access to a computer he could have written Genesis better, or generated a better model for the universe. If Newton had access to a computer he wouldn't be Newton anymore; he'd be Stephen Hawking!

    Now, would you contend that I should not have used this information because it was acquired online...

    By your contention I should either be expertly read on English gentlemen's clubs or not refer to them at all.
    No, I didn't mean that by a long margin. Sure, put technology to good use as it makes things easier. Take dictionaries. Before we had to go through fat hardbound volumes to get the meaning of one word; now we can look up multiple sources with a few clicks and save time. So using technology certainty has benefits. Same with studying for things online, as long as one's sources are impeccable. But today our generation is suffering from what one writer described as 'an acute case of infomania'. We devour far more in too little time without digesting it. So what happens that superficiality comes to define our (historical and other) writing. We can talk about everything but don't know anything in enough depth to produce a lasting effect. This can happen without using modern tech so I'm not having a go at technology. But today it's much easier to be careless than in the past, and the reason is that info comes haphazardly, suddenly and cheaply.
    Last edited by Marbles; 11-04-2014 at 08:26 AM.
    But you, cloudless girl, question of smoke, corn tassel
    You were what the wind was making with illuminated leaves.
    ah, I can say nothing! You were made of everything.

    _Pablo Neruda

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    Notebook and pencil. When that starts to make my eyes hurt, I switch to an app called focuswriter on my laptop. It's just a simple gray screen for you to write on. Soon, this begins to make my eyes hurt. So begins the cycle.

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    Registered User KayKurruption's Avatar
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    I could never make a personal connection with my work while writing on a laptop so I have always resorted to pen and paper first. Then I proceed to make corrections while typing out and a second draft on my laptop. The only part that is completely done on the computer is formatting aforementioned writing.

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    My first book was written before there were computers: on a typewriter, to be published in a Direct Edition. This was a real pain, as it was a major job to add a new paragraph once the chapter was written and I had moved on to a later chapter.

    I would not want to go back to the bad old days. I guess it is OK for those with secretarial backup or who use a shadow author and who make a mint out of writing as a profession.

  10. #10
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    I write primarily with red ink. When I write an extended fiction my hand can dry out so I need to use lotion. Second draft I use Microsoft Word.

  11. #11
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    a key board
    my first poem however was written with a pen on paper
    i do that from time to time
    handwriting can be fun
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Registered User Passwave's Avatar
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    I use a computer. I used to write with pen and paper, but my hand writing is so bad, none of my friends or family would be able to get through it. And spell checker is a life saver.

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    Registered User hannah_arendt's Avatar
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    First I write with my pen and then I type it.

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    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    I prefer to write primarily w/ my laptop; sometimes pen (Parker) and paper. I enjoy the freedom of online tools and resources, but still like to use my paper-bound Roget. Having the resources of a near-complete library at my fingertips is empowering. Ideas will find their way onto anything handy I can write on at the time, often my left palm I've dubbed my palm pilot.

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
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    who am I but a stitch in time
    what if I were to bare my soul
    would you see me origami

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    In a purely technical sense I write first in a wordpress page, which allows citations and a very flexible menu of different formats. Then I copy and paste the contents into a file for final editing.

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