Whilst I was retracing my steps on Saturday looking for my lost amber, I heard part of BBC Radio 4’s Weekend Woman’s Hour, which had a bit all amount creative writing and why picking up the pen still wins out over the computer keyboard for one author. I found the podcast on the internet today and gave it a proper listen. It was interesting comparison and one that I feel like sharing here.
I think part of it is, if I go into the study and sit down at the computer, its like going into an office; its like working – whereas if I sit out the back at the kitchen table with a pen and paper and all the dogs and cats round me – its more like fun. There’s something about writing with a pen, something organic, something analogue – the words seem to flow right down my arm into the pen whereas if I’m at a machine there’s a barrier between us somehow.
I do a lot of crossing out. I’ll write something and I’ll think no-no that’s wrong – don’t like that – cross it out – write it again – no cross it out – then I might go back to the first one and think that’s not so bad, maybe I’ll use that. Then I have lots of asterisks and circles and Xs and As and Bs and Cs – and it is a total, absolute mess, but every afternoon I go into the study and I put it all onto the computer … and then the minute I put in on the computer I print out a hard copy, and I go through the hard copy making changes, put those on the computer, and so in a sense I have the best of both worlds.
I seem to type at the same pace at which I think, which is why it works for me. I can write by hand faster than I can think but that also means I do an awful lot of scribbling out.