The Speed of Writing

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I write faster on a computer keyboard.  I also do a lot more editing. When I use a pencil or fountain pen I write a lot more slowly.  I also do much less editing.

I’ve concluded my writing is more considered and less impulsive when I write by hand vs. the keyword.

What is your experience?



6 thoughts on “The Speed of Writing

  1. It’s true I can type faster that I write but for some reason I get a mental block if I am typing. I always feel that my ideas flow much better on paper.

  2. When I write for publication I use a hybrid system, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    Here’s my current writing workflow:
    First draft is rough on the computer into a plain text file to just get all the words out. (I have a fast WPM.)
    Second draft by hand, making edits along the way as necessary, and with a pen that makes me happy (some days it’s a fountain pen, others I want a cheap ballpoint).
    Type next draft into Scrivener from the handwritten version and edit further as needed, then export to final required format.

    This cyclic system forces several drafts and the second revision by hand is where I do the bulk of my editing and think about word choice.

  3. Agreed. 🙂 I journal by hand, both because the quality of my writing is better when I’m forcibly slowed down, but also because the tactile experience of pen to paper feels therapeutic to me.

    I also remember better things written by hand (like notes for a presentation) than anything typed.

  4. When I use a fountain pen, my writing is more thoughtful I think; because it takes more time. Time means more thought. Penmanship isn’t easy at times. Not if you want it to look good. Just like you want to sound good, too. I equate writing with speaking. When I speak I want to sound good. Same with writing. When I write a letter, it’s almost like I’m talking to that person… A keyboard is almost meant to be sterile, but it doesn’t have to be. When I “write” an email or an informal letter with a PC, I just tap away as if I’m chatting with the person. If you get into it enough, they just might even “talk-back”…To me, that’s when writing REALLY gets complicated. Regards, LeRoy

  5. Fiction comes faster by hand as I don’t break my flow to edit. Technical/legal writing flows faster on the computer as it tends to use the more analytical side of my brain.

  6. When I write anything for work, or in large volumes, I have to use my computer so I can edit easily. I find I write blocks of text in a stream of consciousness, which then needs to be rearranged into a more logical sequence.

    However when I write in my journal or for any other personal use, I only write by hand. As you said, I have more time to think about what I’m writing, which is excellent when I’m journaling so I can think about what I’m writing and what it means to me. Also writing by hand helps me remember things and reinforces memories I’m capturing on the page, but typing does not.

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