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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Reasons Why Writing On Paper Is A Good Idea

No matter what I write, whether it's a book or a blog post, I will always write the first draft on paper.
Some days my writing will always flow quicker than others. Sometimes it can take hours just to write one single sentence. But my mind is always fully engaged in a very complex thought pattern, brain storming ideas and sorting them out into some kind of order. I find it much easier to pen these thoughts onto paper rather than type them into my computer, mainly because I focus too much on where the next key is instead of where my next idea will come from.

Staring at a blank screen also does nothing for my creative juices. It's as if someone is holding the delete button down in my mind, preventing me from typing a single sentence. I find just looking at the brightness of the screen wipes my mind blank in one swift movement.

I love writing words down on paper. I love the process of shaping out each letter into a word. I find it helps me to think of the following sentences much easier than it would just to type them. Writing stimulates my creativity. I have more time to ponder mid sentence, and as a result I am often a slow writer. But when I finish the first draft I often find little needs doing in my second one. I think this is because my focus has been entirely on the creative process and I haven't been distracted doing unnecessary editing in this early stage.

What do you think? Are you a first draft pen and paper writer? Please share your thoughts and experiences.


  1. I am the complete opposite. One of my high school teachers once said 'Pauline has very good ideas...when one can read them.' And my writing is just as bad 40 years on. I type my books directly onto my laptop...fantastic! lol.

  2. When I'm travelling, I scribble in notebooks - and write about everything, from the spider that ran across the floor and into my shoes in the Himalayas to the men leering over little girls in the bars of Bangkok.

    Then, once home, I transcribe the whole lot onto the computer - this helps me remember all that trivia, and is the first step to taming the diaries into a coherent story.

  3. I have written 5 novels and a non-fiction book all on paper. With a couple of spiral notebooks and a handful of #2 lead mechanical pencils, the composition flows at just the right rate for me to think things through. The words seem to flow into scenes that fit into a coherent, consistent story. I've tried dictating and composing at the keyboard, but that only works for outlines. I use dictation (Dragon) to transcribe my paper manuscripts.

  4. That's so funny, Pauline. Sometimes typing is the only way! :)

    Jo: I did something similar with my first two books.

    HL: I'm glad to see other writers are fans of paper as well.

  5. I often find that my hands cannot keep up with my thoughts if I am forced to type everything - even being a fairly reasonable typist just is not quick enough. My poetry is ALWAYS written out beforehand and as I am in the midst of writing a book I am seriously considering going back to the spiral bound and pen approach as I get half way through typing my next point and my mind has already moved on! lol. A keyboard is a keyboard to me - but a good pen ahh well that's worth its weight in gold! P~

  6. My current novel in process started as handwritten notes, some scribbled on scraps of paper out in the field. I like writing by hand because paper and pen are easy to keep at hand. I also like to draw, so maybe the two crafts overlap, flowing into each other. Eventually wp must be used to consolidate, order, final draft. I do like the feel of a good pen in my hand.

  7. A lot of writers I know often say they like to draw or paint. I think writing and the painting version of art may indeed be linked. I can't draw or paint for toffee so I have to say I'm a little envious of those who can.

  8. I love the tactile sensation of writing with pen and paper. When I'm working on an article and I'm in the research phase, I write all of my notes in a notebook, and then type up the article. There's just something about writing that makes me feel good. :D

  9. I agree with you. I must also say that I hardly ever get the chance to write on paper anymore, mostly due to tight deadlines. But I do at some extent in personal projects. They are often a bunch of chaotic notes on paper, but the creative value of the ideas is usually pretty priceless.