Thursday, 24 March 2011

Writing Versus Typing

I had a lovely break from the computer on Tuesday and Wednesday as I was speaking at a very nice writing group down in Dumfries (near the Scottish borders) and staying overnight. So I took the train for a more relaxed journey, partly because I love travelling that way, as does my husband. One of my lovely writing friends down there was putting me up for the night and she picked me up from the station, then we had a great meal with some other friends before the meeting.

Anyway, since I was on the train, I took a pen and notebook so I could try and get a move on with my next novel. And you know what? I got far more writing done on the outward and return journey than I usually manage at home. I suspected that might happen, as I try to write for half an hour while having a coffee at Costa one morning a week at a nearby mall (conveniently near all the shops!), and I always seem to get on better that way. Yet, I used to think I preferred writing straight to computer, apart from poetry which I need to write by hand first.

So the question I have to ask is: do I write more because I'm using a pen and paper? Or is it because I'm out of the study and in amongst people (in my own little space in that larger environment). Maybe it's a bit of both. And it's great to come home and have something to put on to the computer, which in turn gets me writing even more. I wonder if I could justify having more than one coffee out a week!

Rosemary

12 comments:

Frances Garrood said...

It worked for J K Rowling...

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Now, there's a thought!

Joanna said...

I like writing straight onto the screen, but I think it's because I stay at home so much that it's become a habit. I think it would be wonderful to take a pad and paper on a journey or to Costa. I should make the effort. I have definitely become very set in my ways and it would benefit me to become more flexible.

Your break sounds lovely. I have had a break too this week. My eldest daughter came home during a lecturers' strike at uni. It's been a fantastic few days catching up with her and her boyfriend. I'm sure it's done me good to free my mind from its routine and think new thoughts. I should have been jotting ideas down while we talked though. They come up with some amazing lines, which would make great titles or opening sentences for a short story!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Joanna - we do get into habits so easily! Glad you got some lovely time with your daughter and her boyfriend - I can imagine the great storylines you should be writing down. Hope you've captured them on paper by now.

My husband and I are having a few days away this weekend (though not to stay) and it's amazing the surge of creativity that comes with being in different, interesting places. It's a boat trip today!

Janice Horton said...

Last year, I found I could write with pencil and paper while sitting outside on the lawn in the sunshine. What I produced was a mess of ideas and scribbles, with lines and arrows meant to indicate were I wanted to move words around, but it was a worthwhile messy draft. Roll on summer!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Janice - that sounds a good idea! I'm not so keen on the sun though, but I do like being outside.

Debs Carr said...

I prefer typing as my writing deteriorates so rapidly when I write on paper that I end up having to try and work out what I've said when I come to type it up later. I do enjoy writing by hand though, despite all that.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for your comment, Debs! I'm exactly the same usually - my hand writing used to be much better and it takes too long. But I was amazed at the creativity that flowed when writing by hand.

Jill Browne said...

I like to mix it up, with mixed results. Coffee shop writing is fun but a gamble. I've been taking my iPad, which is not the same experience as a laptop. It's inefficient for research and writing the way you can combine them on a bigger computer. On the plus side, it forces you to quit fooling around and just write, because it does that job well. I use an external keyboard and I love the portability of the thing.

Writing by hand is almost a guilty pleasure these days, but I've done my best work and had the most fun doing it that way. Hmmmmm.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Jill - thanks for leaving a comment! Yes, I like a variety of writing methods, but I was pleasantly surprised by that journey on the train, managing to write another few thousand words of the next novel. It was the pesky arm that made me give up in the end (a problem between collar bone and shoulder).

Diane Fordham said...

I'm still a notepad and pen girl. I most enjoy sitting on the beach. I find the sounds of the waves rolling in to shore soothing, and my imagination is set free. All my first short story drafts are done on paper. I do a 'scenes list', number my paragraphs and then transfer onto my laptop. I enjoyed everyone's posts on this topic. It's interesting to know how other writers 'work'. Thank you :)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Diane - thanks for leaving a comment! Yes, I think that sounds perfect, sitting on the beach with pen and paper. That's a very interesting way you approach your short stories - haven't heard of that before, so thank you!