Author Topic: Could you write without a computer?  (Read 2652 times)  

Offline Sam Rivers

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Could you write without a computer?
« on: January 16, 2014, 05:31:51 AM »
Computers make it so easy to write.  It is easy to make changes and move things around.  We can check spelling and reseach on the Internet.  It makes writing a story much easier.

Some of my first short stories were written by hand and were a real struggle.  My hand kept getting tired.  I was talking to my wife about that the other day and she agreed that using a computer is so much easier than using a pen. 

I am not sure that I would continue writing if I had to use a pen or pencil instead of a computer.  I am not talking about jotting down some notes but full time writing.

Could you write without a computer?


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Offline gljones

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2014, 05:46:11 AM »
I tried writing w/o a computer a while back and it was dreadful. It gives me a profound respect for writers in the past who had no choice and people today who can pull that off. Suffice it to say, I have no idea how people can possibly write without an electronic device of some sort.

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Offline vrabinec

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2014, 05:53:23 AM »
I started out writing on a manual typewriter,  so sure. But it would SUCK to make revisions. As much as I tweak [crap]? Zoiks.

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Offline Ty Johnston

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 05:53:47 AM »
Olivetti and Smith Corona were my friends long before Macintosh, so yeah, I could write without a computer. And pencils came in handy, too.  :)

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Offline Adrian Howell

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2014, 05:56:42 AM »
The short answer would be no.

But if I had no choice, perhaps I would learn to use a pencil and paper. The inability to easily edit could be a blessing in disguise. Manuscripts can lose thier power when over-edited. Often a rough draft has a more sincere tone.
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Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2014, 05:58:52 AM »
I probably could, but it would no longer be fun for me I think. I use a very basic handheld psion computer to write on to keep distraction away, but of course it doesn't work when my tablet is right by my side ready to be googled upon for research sigh.

I never would have started writing in a serious way without that psion. I just picked it up and began, and before I knew it I was jotting things down on it every spare minute. Would I have done that in a diary or notebook? I doubt it very much. Now? Well this is my career and I think I would DO ANYTHING to keep writing, but the joy would leach away with the edits and hassles of writing long hand I feel.

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 06:05:25 AM »
When Gordon Dickson got his first wordprocessor, he said it was like getting 7-league boots.

Yeah, I *could* write without a computer,but it's so much easier with one.

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Offline KL_Phelps

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 06:16:36 AM »
wrote my first stories on a typewriter when I was a kid. Saved my money and bought a word processor in high school, an magnavox video writer. d*mn I loved that thing!

My hand writing is horrid, so while I suppose it is possible that I could write by hand, no one  would, including myself, would ever be able to read it
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 06:23:45 AM by KL_Phelps »

Offline lynnfromthesouth

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 06:19:35 AM »
Writing by hand is incredibly painful for me, and has been since I was a child. In college, I was diagnosed with a type of arthritis that resides in the hands. I used to dictate stories to friends to write down, but I avoided writing by hand in every way possible. When computers became accessible and the internet was available, I discovered a whole new freedom when it came to expressing myself, because I wasn't limited by handwriting anymore.

I know Kevin J. Anderson dictates many of his stories and a typist types them, so that would be a possibility, but I don't think I'd be a writer if I couldn't use a computer.

Offline Redbloon

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 06:21:08 AM »
Yes.

I wrote my first book by hand on a big pad and actually got more done than I do now with the constant siren call of the internet (yes, I know I can turn it off but that just doesn't happen)

On the other hand I love the clean copy that the computer gives me as opposed to the constant crossings out and arrows etc that litter my hand written stuff. Also I don't have to type it in before publication if it's all done straight to the screen.

Offline Kay Correll

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 06:23:19 AM »
I could, but I wouldn't like it... ;D  I don't even journal by hand any more. I do it on the computer. I get a much more free flow of my words that way.

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Offline StraightNoChaser

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 06:41:04 AM »
I don't think so. I used to when I was little, but I've been working with computers all of my adult life, so long projects with a pen and paper seem foreign to me now. It's like my creativity is short circuited somehow, I can't even outline by hand. Now, if I lived in a world without computers, I suppose it wouldn't be like that, but then we also wouldn't have the ability to self publish, so why even bother?  :P

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 06:41:36 AM »
Words come easier to me with a pencil in hand. Somehow it makes it easier to shut off my internal editor and just write. So my system is to scribble a few messy pages in a notebook, then type it up, rearranging the words and sentences as I go. The typed version is like a second draft. Around 20 % gets changed as I'm typing. My hand cramps when I write for more than an hour or two, which is why I only do a few pages at a time.

For awhile I thought I could save time by cutting out the middle man and going straight to the keyboard. No pencil and notebook. But I found it took me longer to get my thoughts together while staring at that blank screen. And what I wrote still needed to be redrafted, so I wasn't really saving time at all. I gave up and allowed myself to go back to longhand scribbling. I've even ordered myself a handy little book stand for my desk to make the typing process quicker (my stupid notebook kept falling over as I copied). My handwritten stuff is incredibly messy and filled with scribbles and arrows - another reason I have to pause often and type it up while it's fresh in my memory. Otherwise, I won't be able to make out my own handwriting.  ::)  

Offline HStokes

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2014, 06:44:33 AM »
I could, sure.  But it would sux.

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 06:52:01 AM »
I could write without a computer ONLY if I had to.  However, my writing process would be slowed considerably.  I'm a fast typist.  So the computer works well for me.  :-*

Offline Istvan Szabo, Ifj.

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 06:53:08 AM »
Oh, definitely. I wrote my first stories with pen and paper, than later on typewriter. Personally I love the takka-takka-takka-takka-ding atmosphere. This is my two beauties out of the three where I used to write. My Acer 8930 and my 1939 Continental Typewriter. :)

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Offline Kay Bratt

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 06:54:25 AM »
I have a lot of pain in my hands that makes my hand-writing too atrocious to stand, even to my own eyes.
So if I were forced to hand-write my novels, then no.
I could use a typewriter, though I wouldn't want to.

I work better with words on a screen. I usually have three pages side-by-side as I work. I write the words, move them, play with them until the flow is just right. I can just *spot* where something else is needed when it is up in front of me. And it's so easy to pop up a page or two and insert a little something, change a name/word/action. At the bottom of the document, I make notes that pop into my head but will need to be worked in later. The computer makes it really easy on a writer. That's for sure.


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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 06:57:53 AM »
I actually DO write on a pad and paper. I use the internet for research, but the actual first draft is always done on paper.

The reason for this is that my goal with the first draft is to just "get it down." The problem with writing on a computer is that it is too easy stop and edit...and stop and edit...and stop and edit...and stop and edit...

Writing on paper forces me to just keep moving forward. I can't easily just go back and rewrite the same scene again and again.

Once I have it down on paper, it goes in a file for two month. Then I come back to it and type it into a file, at which time I do any needed rewrites. I can't properly edit my work if I am too close to it. The wait give me distance to look at what I wrote objectively and think about what needs to be fixed.

And I still have tons of books that I reference for my actual research. Sometimes it is easier to pick up a book and find info that to go online, because it is too easy to get distracted online.

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 07:02:50 AM »
Yeah, I wrote about 25 novels/novellas as a teen, all longhand. But typing them up took so long aggravated my back problems, so now I just write on the computer. I do miss the contemplation time, though. While my hand was scribbling, I had time to really figure out what I wanted to say. I had a massive callus on my third finger from the pencil. :-)
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Offline Olivia (Lady O)

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2014, 07:04:30 AM »
I used to love fountain pens and paper and I still do ... but like antiques.
I couldn't possibly work without a computer. My significant other wrote his thesis before word processors and he had to retype everything 10 times before getting to the final draft. What a pain and so much time wasted.
Don't you think this is one of the major reasons while today's author are more prolific ... makes you wonder how many more stories Victor Hugo or Jules Vernes would have told us with a wp.

Offline brendajcarlton

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2014, 07:12:56 AM »
Quote
Words come easier to me with a pencil in hand. Somehow it makes it easier to shut off my internal editor and just write. So my system is to scribble a few messy pages in a notebook, then type it up, rearranging the words and sentences as I go. The typed version is like a second draft. Around 20 % gets changed as I'm typing. My hand cramps when I write for more than an hour or two, which is why I only do a few pages at a time.

For awhile I thought I could save time by cutting out the middle man and going straight to the keyboard. No pencil and notebook. But I found it took me longer to get my thoughts together while staring at that blank screen. And what I wrote still needed to be redrafted, so I wasn't really saving time at all. I gave up and allowed myself to go back to longhand scribbling. I've even ordered myself a handy little book stand for my desk to make the typing process quicker (my stupid notebook kept falling over as I copied). My handwritten stuff is incredibly messy and filled with scribbles and arrows - another reason I have to pause often and type it up while it's fresh in my memory. Otherwise, I won't be able to make out my own handwriting.  Roll Eyes   

Yes, this is me exactly.  There is something about paper and a pencil in hand that makes me feel more imaginative than staring at a blank screen.
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Offline ecg52

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2014, 07:21:05 AM »
On a typewriter, yes. Pen and paper, no. My poor arthritic fingers would scream in protest after a short time.
I do jot down notes when I think of something, but more and more I just turn on the voice recorder on my iphone and talk.
I would go mad without my computer. For more reasons than just writing.


Offline Clark Magnan

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2014, 07:26:43 AM »
For the same reasons Julie mentioned, my first draft is always handwritten. That includes my 140,000 word WIP. So many notepads...

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2014, 07:35:07 AM »
Last year for a couple of months we were without a computer so I got some writing pads and a couple of pens and wrote that way. In total, I must have written over 30k (between three different stories). Now with a computer, I'm writing way less than that in the same amount of time.

Offline m.a. petterson

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Re: Could you write without a computer?
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2014, 07:58:54 AM »
I did it before, and I could do it again. I wrote by hand, I wrote on a typewriter, both manual and electric. I once wrote a novel directly on a typesetting system.

I started writing screenplays on a typewriter, and when word processing came in, the number of people who thought they could do it exploded. Then screenwriting programs came along and everybody thinks they can do it. I'm sure the same could be said about novels. For those who can actually write, computers make it easier. Unfortunately, the same can be said about those who can't. While we might lose a few great books, or authors, if everyone had to do it the old fashioned way, it would eliminate a lot of the chaff.


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