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pen and paper vs. digital
buzzed, B&W

As I try to write everyday for NaBloPoMo, it makes me think about the actual physical process of writing.  I took to the digital world at an early age, I'd guess I was probably 9 or 10.  I remember having the old 286, playing lots of the original Sierra Online games (a la King's Quest, Space Quest, etc, which I credit with much of my typing ability).

So, when writing papers, using WordPerfect and Word 2.0 seemed normal to me, and I didn't realize that this was unusual.  In fact, writing things by hand seemed like a chore back then.  Notes and outlines were probably the one exception, since I liked the freedom that writing on paper gives for organizing ones thoughts - arrows, spacing, little notes, etc.

In my journaling history, I flirted with a paper journal throughout elementary and junior high.  I kept a digital journal in high school, on floppy disks - wish I still had those files (though I think the vast majority of them were about the ridiculousness of high school and girls I was crushing on).  I didn't do much non-school writing through college, and I started this LiveJournal after graduation.  Since then, I've dabble with paper journals.  I kept one on and off while serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA.  I kept one at Burning Man (which I then then transcribed to the LJ).  I've kept one at various trainings and conferences I've attended, and will occasionally write in coffee shops.  There's definitely something to be said for the visceral feeling of the pen scratching the page, the joy of crossing out mistakes, the sense of accomplishment as you get to the bottom of one page and turn to the next, and the finality of punctuating the last sentence, putting the pen down, and closing the notebook / journal.

There are times I miss it (which probably explains why I sometimes go to a coffee shop and write), but digital definitely rules, especially with the internet.  My past writing is searchable and archived, and I can access it most anywhere these days.  The convenience of being able to type, cut-and-paste, and revise quickly are some of the many reasons why I tend to type most of what I write these days.  The Internet, and digital dictionaries, thesauruses, and the ability to link to the rest of the world wide web makes writing on the internet intriguing.

Speaking of writing, I recommend checking out Ott Rising, a serialized novel by Jay Cullis, an old high school friend of mine.  He's just started, but the first entry's definitely got me intrigued . . .

I'd point out another friend's blog, but he's horrible about updating it.  Slacker.


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