How Do You Write?

confessions, Writing

You always hear stories of writers who started out writing in crayon or pencil, in millions of notebooks. The funny thing is, that even though I’ve always been a collector of notebooks, notepads etc, I’ve never been a fan of writing stuff out by hand.

Written by Hand

I don’t know why, but I always have this habit of holding my pen too tight, and now that I have long nails I tend to jab them into my hand. I also seem to have this innate need to write things down quickly, as if I think that if I don’t, I’ll forget what I was going to put. For this reason, exams were a nightmare and I do not miss them!

I’ve also always found my handwriting to be incredibly untidy. Is this a creative trait? I’m not sure, but it has always bothered me how I start writing, and it starts out all neat and tidy and then creativity and the need to get it down takes over, and it turns into a scribbly mess that looks like a small child wrote it.

Type Type

I remember, before PCs took off, my Mum gave me an old typewriter. I used to absolutely love the clack, clack, clack sound as you hit the keys. And boy, did you have to hit those keys. I remember that they had to be pushed down quickly deep and firmly, otherwise they wouldn’t imprint on the paper. I used to love the way the little bell rang when you got to the end of the line, and had to push the rolly thing (does that have a proper name??) back to start a new line. I remember having to wind the paper through, but did it roll on when you started a new line? Gosh, I can’t remember.

I’ll never forget how frustrating it was, when I finished a page and noticed all the mistakes that I’d made because I hadn’t pushed the keys down hard enough, and then having to sit there dabbing Tippex all over the place. My problem was that I wasn’t patient enough to actually wait for that gloopy stuff to dry, and I always ended up making a complete mess!!

From PC with Love

I think I got my first laptop when I was about ten or eleven. Before you get exasperated, it wasn’t anything flashy or exciting, it was something that my mum bought – cheaply – from work, as they were just going to throw it out. I feel like, during that period, I spent my entire life attached to that laptop.

I had already been writing stories on the family PC, but having a laptop gave me complete freedom to write whenever I wanted, rather than whenever it was my turn on the PC. The funny thing was though, that back in the depths of 1995, there wasn’t so much of a battle to the PC purely because we didn’t have the Internet. And yet, when our family got the internet in 2000/01, my brother and I fought like cat and dog to use this amazing thing, with the added screeching of dial-up!

For me, those early days with a laptop – and eventually a PC that was inherited in the same fashion as the laptop – really embedded my love for typing things up, rather than writing them down on paper. I’ve never had any kind of typing training, but because I started so young, I feel like I’ve pretty much always been a fast typist – which didn’t do unnoticed by some of my classmates, who when I had finished typing something up, some would try to bully me into typing theirs up to….”

The Future

For the period when I was growing up, I always feel odd that my childhood wasn’t more writing on paper – as it appears to be for a lot of writers around my age – because even though I did it, I hated it compared to typing. And yet, in 2012, I wonder how many budding eleven-year-old writers actually do write their work down in lots of notebooks? Or do they grow up only typing?

How do you write?
Do you prefer pen-and-paper, or a trusty laptop?
How did you write when you were a kid?

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