Pen or Keyboard?

Before the advent of the typewriter and way before the PC, writers wrote with pens and pencils and everything was simple. Now you there is a plethora of software and geeky devices to help catalyse the writing process. So much easier you’d think and yet oddly so much harder. So which is it to be: pen or keyboard?

Let me tell you what I’ve gleaned from fellow writers. I’ve heard virtually every variation beneath the heavens:

  • Some write and rewrite longhand and and then pass their musings to a typist
  • Some write their first draft longhand and then get it typed up – and then take over
  • Some writer their first draft by hand, type it up themselves and continue rewriting
  • Some jot down their initial musings longhand and once a plan is fixed they jump to the keyboard
  • Some start straight onto the keyboard, rather like someone using a typewriter
  • Some start on the keyboard and then print and edit by hand

There. So many variations and sometimes a writer varies dramatically from pen to keyboard. Does it matter? Actually, something matters, but I don’t think it’s whether you’re using a pen or a keyboard.

At different times in the writing process a writer has to think and behave differently. The initial musings might need to be mulled over carefully. Once the first draft is in progress it’s important to keep flowing, to keep going. Whichever process keeps you in that state is the best for you, whatever that might be.

I know people, who with their eyes focussed on some fantasy can plot novels the size of Lord of the Rings. As soon as they put a pen in their hands, poof, it’s gone, all gone. The muse has fled and there’s nothing that you can do.

Now this is the really important thing. A pen, a keyboard, whatever you might use, is simply a device to record what’s happening. It’s simply the device that takes your thoughts and transfers them to the page. It’s irrelevant what you use, just keep flowing. Let it gush. Sometimes, thoughts may not come and you might use another instrument to release the imagination like chocolate or a walk in the park.

So in answer to the question: keep your pens handy and keep the keyboard close by. When the muse takes you use what will keep you flowing whatever what that might be.

ZHZ

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