Writing vs. Typing

Note: the image I used for this blog topic comes from theglobalscholars.com

Guten morgan, everyone!

As a writer, it’s curious to me that writing and typing are two very different things. The first being how you physically get your words on the page, and the second being what medium you use to accomplish this task.

Let me explain.

I’ve heard that Truman Capote commented on Jack Kerouac’s writing style, saying, comment, “That doesn’t look like writing, that’s typing,” meaning that the man didn’t rewrite his work. That’s kind of a huge no no if you’re a writer. It’s important to always rewrite your work.

One of my professors said that a poem is never finished, because you could technically still keep it open for editing.

As a fellow poet, that does stress me out a little, because I like to think that a lot of my poems are finished, even the ones I wrote when I was younger.

Writing by hand is a calming experience for me. I’ve fallen away from that since I got a computer, but I am trying to put my many notebooks to good use by hand writing–in my lovely hieroglyphics–my novels.

I have a feeling that I should go back to the same method with writing poetry.

In junior high, I started writing free-verse poetry. While my poems are exponentially better these days, I was in my baby stage of poetry. I knew what poems looked like, what they sounded like, because of school. I also read voraciously in those days. (Not that I don’t write voraciously these days, but I still read, but not as often as I’d like because I have to go to work and live in the modern world. I can’t just seclude myself in my bedroom.)

I have a soft spot for characters who are readers like me, or writers. One of my favorite characters is Jude St. Francis from A Little Life. He’s a self-taught man, and is an avid learner. He reads the paper every day, which makes me proud, even though his friends think its funny that he gets the New York Times in physical form, instead of reading it on the Internet. (My dad would be proud. He loves newspapers.)

Although it may seem very meta to have a book about books, or a book about a writer, it’s actually quite the opposite. Talking about books and how we write them is important. Stephan King wrote a book about how to write in On Writing. I plan to read it someday.

To know how to craft words out of thin air is a gift. It’s a gift from the gods, they say, a gift of the mead you drink. The notion that there are gods who grant you the ability to write better sounds positively wonderful. I’ve also heard the expression, “Write drunk, edit sober.” This could also be a slight nod to the gods and their poetry gifting mead.

I love typing. With typing, I can type in a much neater hand than the one I have when I write out sentences with my left hand.

But when I hand write things, the process of writing goes much slower. I can write about three pages whenever I handwrite something. With prose, my handwriting is much slower. With poetry, it doesn’t take me as long.

But back to typing. Without typing, I wouldn’t have this working blog. Without typing, I wouldn’t have published some of my poems in college.

I also love writing by hand. It forces me to be focused on exactly what I’m doing. With typing, I can get distracted by other tabs I might have up, or decide to close my laptop and do something other than writing. When I write by hand, there’s nothing but my thoughts to distract me from my work. I’m in awe of people who have beautiful handwriting, or make cool designs for their bullet journals.

Whether you handwrite your work or type it, you’re creating. That’s what’s important to me as a writer, as a sci-fi/fantasy writer, as a poet, and as a blogger.

Here’s an interesting article about writing versus typing if you’re curious.

~ Meghan B.

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