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Old fashioned and not changing.....

edited September 2005 in - Writing Tales


  • Am I the only old fashioned writer who still writes in long hand then types the final result using a ten years old electric typewriter? In this world of growing technology I sometimes wonder...     
  • I think it's a good idea to keep up with the times - why cling to the past?
  • Two of the magazines I write for much prefer to receive items by email. One of them will only accept book reviews by email. Typing was a pain -one mistake and the whole page had to be retyped. Computers are brilliant - when they work!
  • Yes Stan.  I remember well those pencil rubbers and tip-ex.  When I was 16 I worked for a chartered accountant.  The balance sheet was enormous with about four copies.  None of the girls would touch the spidery handwriting of this old accountant so muggins, the junior, was given the honours.  I had just got to the end of all the figures when, you've guessed it, I had to start typing the columns all over again! All the girls were smiling smugly but the second time round true grit got me there.  In college I wrote all my essays and theses in long hand even though I could type.  I suppose that episode haunted me so I preferred to write.  In any case I didn't like pounding the keys.  But now with my computer keyboard my fingers fairly trip along and if they trip over it doesn't matter anymore. 

    But if you prefer to work this way, Summernight, then it's the best way for you.  But what do you do if you make a mistake?  Why do you prefer using the electric typewriter?  I've only ever used an electric once in my life – never again!  I had a habit of resting my fingers on the keyboard and when I did that the electric machine went off like a machine gun with me diving to the floor for cover!  Now that I have my computer I sometimes do the same thing.  The other night I rested for eight seconds on a key and something happened to the filter key.  It took me ages to get the document back to normal.  Happy keyboarding!  Ciao ciao from Rita.
  • Thanks for your answers.... well, I guess I must be the only one who doesn't keep up with the times.... But Rita, as you said, I am happy this way; by using my handwriting I can 'feel' what I write and it becomes more personal, more 'me'. The computer, when it works, is great and technically faultless (in theory anyway) but to me it just feels cold and just a machine. 
    I guess maybe I'll never be a real writer, but I enjoy what I write and I have fun and I can express my feelings and dreams; maybe that's all that matters.
  • Hi Summernight, what a great name! I've got a dog called Summer Storm! Anyway, back to the matter in hand. I use both the old-fashioned way and the modern way of writing. Because I like to write in comfort, I tend to sit of the sofa with a hard-back notebook and write (with my favourite pen and a supply of chocolate of course!) whilst watching the TV. When I've completed a few chapters or scenes, I then transfer these to my computer. I understand that Jill Mansell does this too!
  • Hi Debs and Summer Storm! I couldn't write and watch TV at the same time because my mind can't concentrate on two different things....! But I often write on the sofa (next to my snoring dog), in bed or anywhere really and couldn't do without my notebook and pen. Then, after endless editing and correcting I type the story (it usually is a story, or a poem or a song) on my typewriter.
  • I've only had my computer since the year 2000 but he is more than a cold machine to me.  He is my soul-mate.  I have just decided to call him Ruggles because I have Anne Fine's dog character Ruggles as the background on my desk top.  I know what it's like trying to put theses and long essays together written long-hand – sheets of crossed-out paper everywhere and looking for that fantastic quote, well, forget it!  It can sometimes be a nightmare looking in all the files on my computer for something special but the more ideas I get for how to organize my writing pursuits the easier the searching becomes.  Now with XP filing is even more enjoyable because all my folders in thumbnails have personalized pictures – so much easier to spot than a name.  In fact the whole idea of the computer fascinates me to the point of obsession.  Even if I don't write something I can sit here happily for hours tinkering with all my files, changing their attributes etc.  I also have Writers' Café.  Now this writing tool is quite something.  With it I can create umpteen notebooks, journals and scrapbooks and I don't have to jump up and down looking for any of them.  And there's no crossings out or ripped out pages either.  Summernight, am I tempting you to change your mind?!  LOL

    What is a real writer anyway?  If you cook you are a cook – maybe not a good cook and perhaps even a terrible cook, but a cook nevertheless.  I am a writer in training and although I haven't sold anything yet I am hungry for my books to be published.  It may never happen.  In which case I shall say to myself and the folk around me, I tried my damndest and for whatever reasons I couldn't break into the market but along the way I really had a rollicking good time.  But I shall never say, I don't think I'll ever be a real writer, and don't you, Summernight.  If you genuinely write and produce prose or poems then you are being true to the art of writing and you are a writer.  That's different to someone boasting that they are writers but never have anything to show for it – a bit like that guy in the film played by Jack Nicholson who is supposed to be a writer and is wintering with his wife and son in a deserted hotel in the wilds and a shot shows him typing onto a page the same word over and over again.  Spooky!  Go on, surprise yourself, Summernight!!  Why don't you target a WN short story competition?  Ciao and lots of luck from Rita.  Now then where was I? Spooky spooky spooky spooky spooky spooky!!!
  • I write everything straight onto the computer.  When it was out of action recently I tried to work with a pen and paper, but found it so difficult.  I seem to think at the speed I word process somehow, and a pen disturbed this and messed up the flow.

    However, I'm having pysio every week on two painful wrists - carple tunnel syndrome and RSI working in tandem to slow me down! I am hoping the physio will pay off, bit I think I may have to try voice recognition eventually, although the idea doesn't appeal.  I worry about it not only being difficult to "train" but affecting the way I think as I work.  Has anyone any experience of voice recognition/ getting over writer's RSI/CT?
  • Continuing development of computer technology now has software which translates ones handwriting into typed words as the "pen" scribes across the "pad".

    My nephew's handwriting is atrocious, due to cerebral palsey disfigurement, yet the system easily learnt his spidery scrawls.
  • Ciao Rita in Tuscany, come va? Thank you for your nice words, they have helped my confidence which is a bit low at the moment.... Anyway, strange that you mentioned the competition, because that's what I am writing for now, the competition about a journey! spooky spooky spooky lol.
  • Thank you Lixxy and Jan, that's helpful.
  • Hi Summernight, sto bene sta sera, grazie.  Caught up with all my e-mailing and that's why I feel so good.  At least I made you laugh.  Is it a WN competition?  It's always good to be focused in your writing, I find.  There is a place to write for the sheer joy of writing but if one is to be published then there is the added element of doing something with one's writing.  At the moment I am working on a picture book biography for 5 – 8 year-old children.  I've just submitted the first part of it as my last assignment for the WN Writing for Children Course.  Caio ciao from Rita.
  • Ciao Rita, com'e' il tempo in Toscana? The competition I am writing for at the moment is for the Writing Magazine (the subject is a journey) and the closing date is oct 14, so I have better send it asap! But it's nearly finished so it will be OK.  Good luck with your assignment; contrary to what most people think, writing for children is quite difficult and I think it requires a particular skill that not every writer possesses.
    Well, time to go now, ciao ciao.
  • I prefer to go straight on to the machine really, using the contemporary software that I have installed. Anyway, each to his or her own. Oh, that lady who writes with the television on and a box of chocolates, I hope you have a fast burning metabolism. I know if I did that, I would not only have the facial imperfections to deal with but also pose a nasty shock to the scales and I do not mean the skin.  Ciao, Woll52
  • Mmmm sorry, but I have been known to sit on grass, beach, cafe, cathedral steps-pencil/camera in hand.  THEN I go to the PC and all its problems and think goodness-bring back the quill.
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