Service of Technology
December 6th, 2010
Categories: Details, Technology, Writing
In a segment of Book TV featuring historian Joseph J. Ellis, Ellis mentioned something in the Q & A portion about “First Family Abigail and John Adams.” It’s worth mulling over especially if you write for work or pleasure.
Ellis said he wrote his books in longhand and that he felt that the best writing is done this way.
Am I missing something because I disagree? Maybe Ellis has something here: Handmade furniture, hand finished fashion, hand knitted sweaters, homemade food–aren’t they all better than their mass-produced cousins?
I think moving from paper to computer keyboard requires training the brain to punch out thoughts. It doesn’t happen naturally unless you’re a child who has played with keyboards since infancy. The transition takes a little time especially if you spent years filling out bluebooks and responding to quizzes that didn’t involve multiple choice X’s, or in the case of Ellis, if that’s how you’ve written all your books.
Even though my handwriting has always been appalling, in the typewriter years I wrote out every press release, photo caption, speech, slide show, white paper or brochure before I typed it. I can’t go back to that. I think I write better today because it’s so easy and fast to edit and rewrite on a computer. [Making corrections on a typewriter--electric or otherwise--was a nightmare and deciphering my scribbles, even on lined yellow pads, worse.]
Apart from thank you notes and condolence letters, do you write anything longhand anymore? Do you think your style benefits because it takes longer to write longhand than to zip out copy on a computer keyboard?