As a writer, the argument for writing with pen and paper rather than at a computer is getting pretty tired. Listening to wannabe, excuse me aspiring, we’re aspiring writers, go on and on about their preferred method of the trade is easily pretentious. In reality, whatever gets the words down is a-ok, dude.
But let’s get pretentious.
I didn’t have a computer until I was eighteen years old so I used to write everything in notebooks. Back then and up until this day, I start a lot of projects that I don’t finish. I probably have over a hundred unfinished screenplays ranging in page count. Storing them all on a hard drive is much more organized than the knee high pile of old notebooks I have in the corner of my bedroom.
Safe to say, these days I prefer to write even my first drafts at a computer. But today I wrote my second poem in two weeks on paper. I didn’t choose pen and paper for any deep, spiritual reason. I was just at work and bored. I didn’t have access to a computer but there were a bunch of blank legal pads at my disposal. An idea for a poem hit me and I started scribbling it down.
I enjoyed the process. It was nice to cross out a bad line, visibly abolishing something that came out the wrong way. I could also make notes and changes on the side of the paper when proof reading. I’m not much of a poet, yet. I just started writing in this medium and its tough going. But I do think these last two were pretty decent. One was about perseverance and the other about girls.
Having just typed up one of them, I’m beginning to think all my poet friends are onto something by always writing their initial drafts with pen and paper. At least for poetry, I can see the aesthetic appeal of holding a pen and making the words appear on paper.
Perhaps it’s time to figure out a way to organize an ever growing stack of notebooks.
What do you think? Do you prefer to write with pen and paper or at a computer?