Telling Stories With a Pen and Paper

From the time that I started writing novels, when I was around ten or twelve years old, I’ve preferred writing with pen and paper.

I don’t really know why. I don’t think that using computers is wrong or anything like that. But my typical writing routine involves writing the novel out in a notebook and then typing it up on the computer afterwards. It’s slower, yes, and some have pointed out that it’s probably more tedious, but I prefer it to the alternative.

My mind associates computers with speed and carelessness. It’s, of course, a useful piece of technology, and I’m not saying that I’d prefer to live without it, but stories require time. They require thought and care, and, in my personal experience, those are easier to find when I’m faced with a black, white sheet of fresh paper, rather than a glowing computer screen, where I can click away to Facebook or Twitter with the smallest of gestures.

Computers are for writing essays and messages to families. Computers are where you merge a colon and a single bracket to create what the human brain recognizes as a smiling face. Computers are incredibly useful for creating an easily-saved digital copy that cannot be simply forgotten in a coffee shop, or burned away in a house fire. I love computers, and I would not trade them for something more primitive, but when it comes to writing stories, computers are never the thing that I turn to first.

And as much as people will see me sprawling away in my notebook and assume that I’m just a mad writer with my odd superstitions, choosing the most tedious option that I could, there are plenty of benefits to writing in a notebook as well. I enjoy the way that each empty page refreshes my mind, like a new chance at writing the story that I want. I love that I’m forced to take my time, to think about every decision that I have to make as I go along. I love the way that the pen forms each letter, the black ink creating words, then sentences, then paragraphs, one at a time to form, ultimately, the whole story. I love watching as the pages pile onto one another, as I get further along in the story and the paper stacks higher and higher.

Quite simply, I just find that paper gives me more inspiration than the screen does. And that’s not to say that the alternative is any worse or better than my method. Every writer has their own way of writing, and very few of them are wrong. The way I see it, whatever you find makes you better writer is what you should do. Which is why I like to write with a pen in my hand and ink splotches on my skin.

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