Keyboard vs. Longhand: How do you Write?

I recently read this post on the Live to Write – Write to Live blog from the New Hampshire Writer’s Network. The  post was part of the Friday Fun series where each week, they pose and answer a different question. This week, they posed a question about writing with a keyboard versus writing longhand.

QUESTION: Early adopter or luddite? A shiny laptop and the latest writing software, or crisp paper and a fine pen? Which do you prefer? Why? If you use both, what drives your choice?

This inspired me to think about my own writing habits.

While I love the feeling of pen-in-hand, I find more and more I use the computer (or my iPhone) for note-taking and writing.

NotebookI still carry a notebook with me and always make sure to have good pen (or three) on hand at all times. In fact, I have notebooks everywhere; a fun-sized notebook for my purse, a notepad in my glove compartment. You’ll find notebooks in my desk drawers, my nightstand, the end table beside my couch. I have them in a variety of styles, spiral bound, Steno pads, and composition notebooks.

I am known for writing things down on post-its and scraps of paper, then losing said scraps of paper. So I’ve taken to using my phone to record my shipping lists. I used to be an avid journal keeper and always wrote in journals by hand. Despite my tendency toward typing in recent years, I love to write notes in beautiful cursive and fear that good handwriting is become a lost art form.

For my freelance writing work, I have always taken notes longhand on a notepad during interviews, but have recently come around to bringing my laptop for note taking. I can type so much faster than I write, that it’s easier to keep up and much better for accurately recording direct quotes.

I do most of my creative writing on my laptop in Microsoft Word. I don’t have much experience with writing software, however, this past November I tried yWriter for NaNoWriMo and enjoyed it. I have also taken to writing notes or starting drafts using my Gmail, composing an email then saving it as a draft to come back to later. As silly as this seems, I can easily access my Gmail from anywhere.

How do you write? How has technology changed the way you write?

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New Year, New Beginnings

January is often the month of resolutions. A new year presents us with the opportunity for a fresh start. I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions just for the sake of making one. Creating change in your own life takes more than just a wishful goal made because of the drop of a ball and the changing of a calendar.

But this year is a little different for me. It started in December, a month that, with the joy and cheer of being surrounded with loved ones for the holidays, didn’t feel so joyous or cheerful at all.

First, the unimaginable tragedy at Sandy Hook where so many children and teachers lost their lives. Then, right here in the city I call home, four firefighters were gunned down responding to a fire on Christmas Eve, two of whom were killed. Events like these leave me with two burning questions, “How could anyone do something so despicable, so awful, so horrific?!” and second, “What is this world coming to?”

I was left wondering, (and am still wondering) how do we come back from a tragedy like this? How do we move on, how do we carry on with our lives and have faith in the world in which we live, faith in humanity, faith in life itself?

I don’t know the answer to that question, and certainly the answer is different for everyone. But I’ve come to one conclusion, and that is the belief that we must be the change we want to see in the world. The change must come from ourselves, we must create change in our own lives, our homes, our workplaces, our neighborhoods and communities.

For me, that means being a better person, being more grateful, more passionate, more positive, doing the things I love and having faith that life IS all it’s cracked up to be.

It starts with filling my life with positive and inspiring things. It continues with sharing positive and inspiring things with others.

So while I don’t have a specific New Year’s resolution, the start of this year marks the beginning of committing to living the life I want to live and being the person I want to be.

I’m starting small: I’m filling my Twitter feed with uplifting messages by following spiritual thinkers, inspiring leaders and sharers of Good news. I’ve subscribed to newsletters that deliver inspiration to my email inbox amidst the junk and clutter. I am actively seeking out positive, feel-good stories that typically don’t get covered by mainstream media, to remind myself there is still Good in the world. Most importantly, I love to read, so I’ve committed to make more time in my day to not only read more, but to read things that are inspiring and thought-provoking.

I hope to make these small changes and more, permanent changes in my life and my daily routine. And it is my goal to share them here, and on social media, for whoever wants to listen.

Happy New Year.