In Part One of Digital vs Print & Paper, I talked about why I prefer reading a print copy of a book rather than using an e-reader. This post is going to be coming at the topic from my perspective as a writer, rather than a reader. Again, I acknowledge the firm irony that I am writing this on a computer, to be consumed in a digital format, but what would I choose if that was not the case?
Writing is a bit different to reading. For books and literature I would always choose a book over digital. For articles, I naturally read 99% of them on a computer. I say 99% because when I was student if I had to read a really long complex article I would print it out in order to scribble/highlight all over it. I find it much easier to concentrate on long tracts of text when they’re printed rather than on a screen. I think my eyes get tired otherwise.
Unlike reading, I write wherever I can: my phone, paper, a journal, a napkin, my hand etc. Ideas tend to strike me at oddest of times, so I make a note on whatever is available. When I first started writing poetry I was on a train, and was so wrote most of it on my phone. At least my first thirty poems were written on my phone. I also write a lot of my poetry on the bus so naturally a lot of that is done on my phone because that’s the easiest thing to hand (I do scribble some of it in a notebook, although when we’re on bumpy roads the writing can get bit indecipherable).
So here my opinion is a bit more split – I’m more flexible about writing using digital technology than I am about reading. It’s quicker, and it can be saved in multiple places, as well as transferred fairly easily. Having said that, one thing I do like doing on my days off is going to a coffee shop nearby and spending time scribbling in my notebook working on various drafts. I even have a fountain pen that I like to write with. It’s so hipster that it almost hurts.
I think where you write does make a difference to the content you create. I’ve noticed that a lot of the poems I wrote on my phone have very short lines. This is probably because the phone cuts the line off in places, and it becomes irritating to write longer sentences that then constantly have to be formatted. I didn’t consciously make this decision, it’s just something that seemed to happen because of the tool I was using. When writing on paper, or on a computer, I tend to write longer poems, or ones with more drifting lines. Again, not conscious, but it could be to do with the physical space I have available to write in.
If you’re a writer which do you prefer? Good old fashioned pen and paper? Or do you jot things down in your phone, or wait until you’re near a computer? Let me know in the comments!