"You should write on paper" advice

User avatar
rucontent
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:26 pm
Platform: Mac

Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:15 pm Post

Good Afternoon Forum,

First time posting in this particular "branch." Just curious what peoples opinions are of writing on paper.

Obviously we are in this forum cause we put our final ideas in our computers. But for those seasoned writers, can you say a little about how you came to your current workflow and if it includes paper to pen.

Maybe you also struggled with this? Looking for others ideas.

http://jennybravobooks.com/blog/write-on-paper


thank you
Happy Sunday!

User avatar
Jot
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:35 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS

Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:05 pm Post

Lately, I've been using my notebook and favorite pen more and more. I find that writing comes easier for some reason (without the flashing cursor mocking me). I enjoy writing with a pen (or pencil).

Since swinging back to notebooks, I've written more in a few weeks than in the previous year. So, it's working for me. The notebook also has the advantage of being lighter and easier to carry around.

My workflow is now is to scan (using an iphone app) the written pages, download the result and import into the appropriate Scrivener file.
J

Hu
Hugh
Posts: 2443
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:05 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: UK

Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:18 am Post

I wrote this elsewhere, two years ago:

"I like to write a first draft in pencil (one with an eraser on the end, naturally). I’ve always done this. I believe the results are better that way.

After handwriting a first draft, hitherto I’ve usually typed up what I’ve handwritten [in Scrivener], editing as I go. But in the interests of speed and reducing muscular aches and pains, I’m now experimenting with speech-to-text dictation technology instead. I wish that handwriting-to-text had reached a level where it was technically as accurate as speech-to-text; if it had, I’d use it in a heartbeat, but so far it’s been a disappointment to me (probably partly because, whatever I try to do, my handwriting remains very poor.)"

Two things have changed for me since I wrote that, and one thing has not. Handwriting-to-text technology has not improved enough for daily, long-form use, not for my handwriting at least. But I have handwritten much more on my iPad. I use the Apple Pencil to write, not for conversion to text, but for saving as handwriting. Plastic-on-glass will never be as satisfying for me as pen- or pencil-on-paper. But it has the advantage that my handwritten notes are all filed in one place.

The other thing that has changed for me is that I've learnt that a long-held prejudice of mine that handwriting engages deeper levels of the brain than typing has emerged as (probably) scientifically correct (as the reference quoted by the OP suggests). Thinking through the point of a pencil, plastic or lead, turns out to be not only more satisfying for me, but also very likely more effective!
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

Ah
Ahab
Posts: 746
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Maine

Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:43 am Post

I started out many years ago making notes on index cards and/or a small notebook (after much experimentation, I settled on the cheapish Moleskine Caheers, as being the most durable for the money). And while I've tried just about everything since, from a Newton to an iPaq to an iPhone and an iPad, I still find the process of writing with pen on paper better suited to my writing style. And they don't need batteries or recharging, though they sometimes need a headlamp, when that irreplaceable idea comes to you at midnight in a tent on the tundra.

But every writer is different; there's no one right way to do it. Until it comes to editing. For serious long-form writing this should always be done on a paper printout with a pencil or pen and a pack of PostIts. After computers entirely took over writing I saw a marked difference in writing quality between writers who'd edited themselves on paper, before submission, and those who did not.

Hu
Hugh
Posts: 2443
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:05 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: UK

Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:30 pm Post

Ahab wrote:... every writer is different; there's no one right way to do it. Until it comes to editing. For serious long-form writing this should always be done on a paper printout with a pencil or pen and a pack of PostIts. After computers entirely took over writing I saw a marked difference in writing quality between writers who'd edited themselves on paper, before submission, and those who did not.


I defer to your experience, Ahab, but for me, editing - or perhaps more correctly, finally revising - my own writing on a larger iPad with an Apple Pencil is more or less a perfect exercise. Especially easier if I happen to be travelling and would otherwise have to lug around a load of paper.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

User avatar
xiamenese
Posts: 3669
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:32 am
Platform: Mac
Location: London or Exeter, UK.

Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:47 pm Post

My 'essential tremor'—inessential as far as I'm concerned, but I can't do anything about it! :) —has made writing more than a shopping list a virtual impossibility for many years. It's even sadder, because I did enjoy writing with an (italic) fountain pen. So, for me, it all has to be done on computer these days.

However, one thing is for certain, after "completing" a document in Scrivener, I always compile to NWP and go through it there. I find the change of interface throws up things requiring editing that I missed in Scrivener. I find it hard to understand those who want to do the whole thing in Scrivener and think that it is too much to expect them to use other software to complete the job including checking page layout, endnote placement, etc.

:)

Mark
The Scrivenato sometimes known as Mr X.
rMBP 13" (early 2015) 10.13.6, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSID
MBP17" (late 2011) 10.13.6, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSID
2017 iPad, iOS 12.01, 128GB, Apple Pencil
Scrivener, Scapple, Nisus Writer Pro, Bookends …

Ke
KenRandall
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:21 am
Platform: Mac

Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:53 pm Post

So, I sometimes "write" on my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil in GoodNotes4 - the App converts my writing to text that I can paste into Scrivener. It's a different take ... I sometimes like toiling with the written text, but can't stand the thought of re-typing (or even dictating) as a second step into Scrivener.

User avatar
Silverdragon
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:52 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: Tarzana, California, USA
Contact:

Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:29 pm Post

I occasionally use the WritePad iOS handwriting keyboard (some folks prefer MyScript Stylus, but I dislike how wonky it can get in its correction buffer). Thus, I can handwrite directly into iOS Scrivener, and do if the words aren't coming easily on the physical keyboard. No transcription, nor copy-and-paste needed.
So you know where I'm coming from:
  • I'm a user, not an L&L employee.
  • Mac Scrivener 3.1.1, MacBook Air 11, MacOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra)
  • IOS Scrivener 1.1.5, iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2, iOS 12.1

User avatar
devinganger
Posts: 1210
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:55 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Monroe, WA 98272 (CN97au)
Contact:

Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:32 pm Post

I learned how to touch-type when I was 9. I never looked back. For the next five years of home-schooling, I typed every assignment I could instead of writing, and my mother agreed because my handwriting was barely legible at the best of times. It's SO SLOW. I can do 120wpm typing, there is no way my hands can keep up trying to drag a pen or pencil across paper.

Even today, I hate to write things out by hand. I feel trapped.

When I hear advice like this, I smile pleasantly and nod whilst mentally plonking the advice into my killfile. There may be One True Way to do things, but *my* One True Way isn't going to be the same as yours. :twisted:
--
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

User avatar
Silverdragon
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:52 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: Tarzana, California, USA
Contact:

Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:59 pm Post

I agree with you, Devin, that there is no One True Way. I move to handwriting when the words aren't flowing, but I prefer the brisk pace of typing when I'm in the groove. Back in the 19th century when typewriters were introduced, there were some studies done: the fastest longhand a skilled clerk could manage was 30 wpm. Even crude typewriting easily outpaced it. Whether I transcribe handwriting via re-typing or I let my iPad transcribe as I write, productivity for a first draft is best for me when typing. Handwriting wins only when I'm so blocked that any wpm is better than zero… :D

I tried dictation, too. Many writers swear by it as faster and more creative than either typing or handwriting, I don't disbelieve them, but I find it incredibly frustrating. Perhaps there's a correlation with my natural learning modes being either reading or doing;trying to learn from a lecture/discussion/podcast /video (speaking) turns my brain to cold oatmeal.

Problem is, I keep trying any One True Way presented to me that sounds plausible. I should follow your example and make more use of a mental Round File. :D
So you know where I'm coming from:
  • I'm a user, not an L&L employee.
  • Mac Scrivener 3.1.1, MacBook Air 11, MacOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra)
  • IOS Scrivener 1.1.5, iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2, iOS 12.1

User avatar
Silverdragon
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:52 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: Tarzana, California, USA
Contact:

Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:40 pm Post

One thing I'd like to add is that Scrivener allows for some of the advantages of paper that the Jenny Bravo article touts. I can handle marginal notes by in-line annotations, inspector annotations, or document notes. I can strikethrough words or put them into an inline annotation to avoid deletions and have a visual history of my text.

I often resort to physical paper in the planning stages of story building. I scan that into Evernote so it's searchable. But when I'm writing words that I expect to be part of the actual story, I just can't bear to not produce direct electronic copy, whether typed or via a handwriting keyboard.
So you know where I'm coming from:
  • I'm a user, not an L&L employee.
  • Mac Scrivener 3.1.1, MacBook Air 11, MacOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra)
  • IOS Scrivener 1.1.5, iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2, iOS 12.1

User avatar
devinganger
Posts: 1210
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:55 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Monroe, WA 98272 (CN97au)
Contact:

Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:18 am Post

Silverdragon wrote:Problem is, I keep trying any One True Way presented to me that sounds plausible. I should follow your example and make more use of a mental Round File. :D


Part of my bargain with myself for having that mental Round File is that I will occasionally try something again, or at least a variation of it, to see if Present Me is sufficiently different enough from past Me that The Technique I Hated Beyond All Reason is now suddenly The Technique I Cannot Live Without (or at least The Technique That Is Good Enough To Get Stuff Done). I'm stopped trying to look for complete solutions and instead focus on incremental improvement.

The other part of my bargain with myself is that trying something new/modified means giving it enough time/reps to give an equitable shot at separating the discomfort of the change from the true ill fit. For example, a while back my wife moved to using bullet journals. I didn't take up the bullet journal myself -- I know that if it involves handwriting I won't do it, the act of hand writing is too uncomfortable (I despise writing *checks* for Pete's sake, that's too much handwriting!) and too much of a barrier for entry. But I was able to take some of the principles behind the bullet journal and adapt them to an electronic workflow that has been working quite well for me.

Little change, give it time, then another little change. That seems to be the key for me, which should not be a surprise as I have been told that water is my elemental affiliation so many times from so many different people that I take it for granted. Water does occasionally inundate and wash away, but most of the time it is small and gentle and oh-so-patient.

Everyone else's mileage, of course, may vary, and probably should! :P
--
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

User avatar
Silverdragon
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:52 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: Tarzana, California, USA
Contact:

Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:55 am Post

I gave dictation a good long try recently, despite the one-woman study I did about three years back that showed it was less productive—for me—than typing. This was a variation (record and use software transcription rather than live on-screen) that, yeah, sounded plausible. But either Mac dictation hasn't significantly improved, no matter how you do it, or my audible word processing hasn't (I suspect the latter.) I'll likely pick it up again in a few years just in case dictation's changed or I have. :D

BTW, Devin, my son has had about the same experience as you with handwriting v. typing. I might have had, but I grew up in the Dark Ages before personal computers; I was first introduced to typing when I was 16 and didn't have a keyboard of my own (a nifty Royal manual typewriter with all the latest goodies ) until I was 18. I envy you young whippersnappers… ;)
So you know where I'm coming from:
  • I'm a user, not an L&L employee.
  • Mac Scrivener 3.1.1, MacBook Air 11, MacOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra)
  • IOS Scrivener 1.1.5, iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2, iOS 12.1

User avatar
devinganger
Posts: 1210
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:55 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Monroe, WA 98272 (CN97au)
Contact:

Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:22 am Post

Silverdragon wrote:BTW, Devin, my son has had about the same experience as you with handwriting v. typing. I might have had, but I grew up in the Dark Ages before personal computers; I was first introduced to typing when I was 16 and didn't have a keyboard of my own (a nifty Royal manual typewriter with all the latest goodies ) until I was 18. I envy you young whippersnappers… ;)


My first computer was a Timex/Sinclair 1000; I picked up a manual typewriter at a garage sale when I was 8. When I turned 9 I started home-schooling and the first thing my mom did was take my typewriter, put black electrical tape over the keys, and teach my sister and I how to touch-type. I didn't get my first computer with a real keyboard (a Commodore 64) until I was 10-11. I didn't have an IBM PC AT compatible until just before I graduated high school. I'm back there in the Darkish Ages with you!
--
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

User avatar
Jaysen
Posts: 5998
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:00 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: East-Be-Jesus-Nowhere SC, USA

Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:59 am Post

I'm going to "throw down" a challenge to the non-handwriting types (I'm one of you BTW)... This is not a competition but a cognitive evaluation.

Take ONE DAY and go to a different place. By different I mean unfamiliar in a significant context. Take only cash for a coffee/beer/cocktail, a note pad and a PEN (not a pencil). Find a place to sit for 30 minutes and plant your backside in that location. Do not relocate (if a train is about to run you over... should have planned better). Now, for 30min simply hand write observations about the area. Don't try to get poetic or write a story. Just observe and be descriptive in your writing. EX: "I see a tree. It is not spring." is not right, "I see a barren tree which could be dead or alive given the time of year".

Next, maybe a week later, find a similar unfamiliar spot and take a laptop/tablet/whatever-electronic-device and do the same exercise. Avoid editing as you go, go for "stream of consciousness". Use the same style of observation recording. Save your work and let it sit a FULL week.

Now go an compare the two documents. Compare for quality of observation, quality of description and "is this readable within a larger context. Have others do the comparison as well. Give them the raw data with no editing. Weigh their observations with more credibility than your own (you wouldn't disregard an editor would you?).

This was a challenge I was given by someone else. I found it an interesting exercise regardless of the outcome.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 24 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

Image