General · Writing

Why Not to Use Pen And Paper to Write

Last fall, I dedicated a single subject spiral bound notebook to my flash fiction.

It is presently lost. I imagine it will turn up somewhere. Probably months from now, when I remember nothing about the half-finished flash fiction in it.

That’s the way it always happens. I don’t know how many notebooks I’ve lost track of. Oh, they usually turn up again, but by the time I find it again, I’ve lost hope and started another notebook for fiction. I’ve had marble notebooks, spiral notebooks, those little folders that you can turn into notebooks by slipping loose leaf paper into fasteners/prongs/whatever the are called.

I’ve lost lots. I don’t even know how many. IMO, this is the single best argument for not writing with pen/paper.

(Aside from the fact I dislike transcribing everything to a word file. Feels like duplicate work.)

I’ve never lost a flash drive or any other file on my computer. Even if I forget where it’s saved – never happened! – a computer search is easier than searching every nook and cranny in the house.

But sometimes you just need a pen in your hand, you know? Sometimes it works better than a keyboard. I wish that wasn’t so. I am just grateful I am not often inspired to write with pen and paper.

But if I don’t find the damn notebook soon, I am never getting a notebook for fiction ever again. Never!!!!


22 thoughts on “Why Not to Use Pen And Paper to Write

  1. No way! A writer eschewing pen and paper? Thou art cursed, fiend!

    Seriously. I know what you mean. I had the fright of my life when I arrived by train in a central London station only to realise I had left my precious black notebook in a Sainsbury’s in Ealing, miles away back down the line. So what did I do? I went back and got it, my friend!

    But I like finding long-lost notebooks. Often the ideas in them have had sufficient time to stew, and provide some rich compost for the barren garden of my mind.

    I hope you find it soon to prevent this tragic separation from happening.

  2. Oh no, I love writing on paper – I have a beautiful fountain pen too, which really helps with the flow of ideas. Second draft onwards goes on the computer though. I hope you find your notebook.

  3. That happens to me too, one turned up years later when we moved. That might have been for the better since the writing made me cringe and I’d given up on the ideas long ago.

    I’ve noticed that I write better with pen and paper. The words and ideas flow better. A teacher and a student once debated about computer replacing pen and paper (automation, computers are going to replace everything….) and the teacher said that words written with a pen will stick to your mind much better. Drawing the letters instead of picking and pressing a button might be the cause, though it’d be best to type the words on the computer right away. I’m currently looking for my math notebook with a story idea on the cover….

    1. LOL Yes I also cringe when I come across old notebooks. It’s sobering realize how terrible my writing was and I thought I was good.

  4. I hope you can find your notebook; losing it would be terrible! I only use my notebooks for jotting down ideas, but any official writing is done on the computer; I too dislike transcribing everything to a word file. You could spend the time doing that writing additional things!

  5. Owww! That’s the other drawback (ha, I said “draw”): making backups is harder. I have things set up on my computer so when I close a project in Scrivener, it automatically sends a backup to my Dropbox.

    Hope you find it quickly!

  6. I love using pen and paper and, knock on wood, have never lost my notebooks. Now deciphering my handwriting is another story…

  7. I hope you find it. I lost all my travel/personal journals(4 or 5 of them) after a flight from London to Auckland via LA once, it was a terrible feeling, and I kept replaying what I had done with them so many times. One suitcase went missing and eventually turned up. The only clue to what mght have happened to the. Someone having a good laugh somewhere I guess. Big lesson in detachment.

  8. Good luck with finding it.

    Good luck with the “never” part. I’ve said never many many times and it never… (stupid unintentional pun!?) works.

  9. I also find it incredibly difficult to edit on paper and pen. It’s just easier to move a sentence elsewhere if you don’t like it where it’s written.

  10. Curious to balance your fury against all the times a writer-friend or contact has had their laptop stolen. It may actually be an even score between the poor folks who lost a notebook and the poor folks who had their laptops/bags swiped at a convention or from their car.

    Definitely good luck finding it, Sonia. I’d freak if I lost my notebook.

    1. Benefit of laptops: cloud computing. Can’t argue with that, especially with good insurance …

  11. Hi there Sonia — sometimes, writing on paper in a cafe is the only way to go. It’s how I got started doing my own writing (and hence the name of my site — Cafe Shorts). It was as much the mood of the experience, the journey if you will, as it was the actual output. I use a laptop a lot now, to avoid all that transcription (uch), but I do still like the freedom of writing on any old scrap of paper or in a hard-backed journal whenever it takes my fancy. St.

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